Sometimes-you have to go away and do something really different.
I am lucky enough to have friends who live in the French Alps. They live in a remote village of 60 or so people many who have grown and lived there all of their lives. This village is one of many in the region, separated by rich farmland and vineyards with tiny winerys attached to them.
The charm of these villages is unsurpassed. Everywhere you turn, there is a nook and cranny that is interesting, with ancient hardware, giant wooden doors, old classic vehicles long abandoned with flowers growing around them, and gardens everywhere.
They don’t believe in using chemicals of any kind on their gardens or lawns, yet the vegetables are beautiful, and do not have many issues with disease or mold. If a problem does come up with the garden, they use organic means to combat the problem.
Very little English is spoken here. I never studied French in school, so I worked hard on my own before coming to France—studying the language to be able to carry on short conversations, to understand, and be understood. I have to admit, I was only partially successful. I was naive in thinking that the people on the French Language tapes sounded like the people in a region with a strong Bugey accent. But we got on!
I found the people more than welcoming here. The clean living, beautiful views, fabulous wine, and quiet lifestyle are a real contrast to the fast pace and busy-ness of the Northeast United States. There is no choice here except to slow down.
Yesterday, I found myself in a beautiful garden with Gil, who quickly became a good friend. Even with my very poor French, we got on, discussing the vegetables while picking string beans together. She took me down a wooded path where she explained that as a child, she walked to school—literally over the river and through the woods. The water in the stream was so clean and clear.
Then I realized as we walked that we were not bothered by flying insects! No mosquitos, gnats, or black flies or ticks. It was actually a pleasure to walk through these woods. There are no screens on the windows in the gite we stayed in—no need.
This lifestyle is in such contrast to mine-and I love it. I feel as if I have gone back in time, yet I have all of the modern amenities of today. (Yes I have internet).
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life in New England, but to go and immerse in a bucolic setting with clean living, clean food, clean water and clean air—THAT is a privilege I have been lucky enough to experience.
To see Nature’s beauty at its finest—to remind myself to slow down, refresh and renew.
And I will tuck this place into my soul for those days when I will need to go back and remember.