There is no Provence. Whoever loves it, loves the world, or loves nothing. –Jean Giono, Rondeur des Jours.
I woke at dawn. I had slept fitfully, thinking of my impending departure. I pulled on my shoes, took up my walking staff one last time, and headed out the door as the cat Poutin scurried past my feet into the house, looking for breakfast after a long night out.
The sky was a limpid blue with ropy trails of pink and gray-tinged clouds. The ground was dry, even at that hour, and the stony earth commented on my passing, while the wind sighed regretfully in the trees that bordered the village.
As I descended the plateau, I heard a duet of cuckoos calling to each other across the valley in contrapuntal harmony, bidding me mark the time. The church bells of the neighboring commune struck the half hour — 6:30. Sheep bells chimed from across the valley, as if in answer. Continue reading