1500 kilometers without a plan. Just a general direction. Going West and South. Driving 1500 kilometers to meet someone?
I didn’t think about it along the way. I had given up thinking months ago. This was my vacation. One I badly needed but also one I had no clue about. I didn’t know how long I would stay, if I would stay at all, and if not where to go to. I didn’t care. I was well beyond caring.
Still, I was nervous when I left the Autoroute Du Soleil and stopped to wait, to be picked up as I was told I would never find the house. That sounded odd to me. I seldom got lost and this was France, not the Australian Outback, so how difficult could it be to find a house?
My friend came. I saw her from afar. I recognized her immediately. We hugged, we laughed nervously, and each of us got in her car. I was to follow her. I did.
After three roundabouts, a bit straight ahead through a village and two turn offs there was close to nothing for the next 15 minutes. No village, nothing but wineyards and olive trees, lonely roads and a sky so wide and big that I understood there really is no end to it.
I was received and treated like family by people who care and mend. In the middle of the most beautiful nowhere that might exist. At a place of desire. I was there and far away. Simply far away from it all. There was nothing but a nothingness in which the Savoir Vivre resides, the cycadas fill the silky air, and at night the stars seem so close. There was that stillness, that peacefulness that is so rare that I realized I didn’t really know it before.
And then I understood.
I met many people, was to many places in my life. I took memories with me, pictures, sometimes some soil in little bottles. But this was different. No need for whatever I could grab.
I knew I would take something else when I left. And that I would leave something of me behind. And that a family of choice that was a concept first, a lovely thought, now had more than a fundament.
And maybe it is always like that. If anyone, anything really touches me it dissolves into my blood. This way it stays with me, forever, becomes a part of myself.
And just like that, a little bit of Provence, some French family and a Burgundian way of life now run in my blood.