MonflanquinI’m not supposed to be here – at least in the sense that this is not where I set off for. A clear and compelling image of a mediaeval marketplace has somehow attached itself to the wrong place name in my head. Yet fate deals what it deals and here I am in the wrong place/the only place I could be. I am in a bastide town – isn’t it the same as all the others or is it different? The wrong question – how is it both the same and different? The jumbled rocks, golden in their glory glow in this watery spring sun. The tricoleur, hangs limp, blown occasionally by a stray wisp of breeze, reminding me that although Aquitaine was for centuries owned by the English, and in a different way is in the process of being reclaimed, we are indeed here in La France Profonde. We live with the seasons, eating what nature provides, we wait patiently yet anxiously for the return of the beautiful yellow. She shines now, breathing life into trees eager to renew their acquaintance with the life-giving sun. Their leaves turning in just days from mere ideas into greening hands reaching into the air for sustenance. The shading planes behind, ragged stunted fingers pointing upwards, waiting yet ever seeking the trigger that will make it grow so fast and huge that once again, and as it is resting in the dark depths of winter, all new growth will be removed. The arms and fingers look tortured yet the trunk renews them from year to year, as if knowing and understanding the relief it brings to tired and overcooked humans in the dog days of August. The summer is over, her magnificent bounty (p)reserved for days to come, when evenings cool and sky is grey, when snow glistens and rain falls gently renewing the deepest thirst of the land.

I should be here, it feeds me and I feed it. Next time I will visit Monpazier!

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