Saturday, December 16, 2006


This morning, Eric did some shooting around Choranche. He climbed up to the crest of the hill behind my house, where the panoramic view to the east is superb. My donkey Moshé galloped up, to see what Eric was doing, and they were quickly joined by my billy-goat Gavroche. Eric told me he got some fine shots of the animals and the landscape. Then he shot a short sequence, in front of the house, of me talking about Gamone. After that, Eric went off on his own in his automobile to shoot images further up the road, beyond the village of Choranche, in the Gorges of the Bourne. Half an hour later, when he returned to the house, Eric informed me that he had just escaped a calamity by a hair’s breadth. When parking his automobile on the edge of the mountainous road, he hadn’t put the brake on firmly enough. All of a sudden, he saw his automobile sliding slowly backwards. Eric tried vainly to halt the vehicle with his bare hands, but it carried on until it bumped into the stone wall on the edge of the road, causing minimal damage to the rear bumper and taillights. Back at my place, Eric patched up the damaged plastic with cardboard and adhesive tape, while reflecting upon what might have happened if there had been a break in the stone wall at the spot where the automobile was sliding backwards.

On the theme of mountain roads, I told Eric about a recent discussion with my son. Seeing me halt on a steep and narrow road because of an approaching vehicle, François said that, if he were at the wheel in this kind of situation, he would normally accelerate, instead of halting, because he considered that two vehicles could best move around each other “in the fluidity of their respective movement”. (This translation into English might not represent faithfully what my son was trying to say.) I remember being shocked by the point of view of François, who seemed to be appealing to some kind of magic beyond the realities of elementary arithmetic, as if the concept of fluidity could, somehow or other, reduce the widths of the two vehicles... almost like the famous Einsteinian diminution of length due to high velocity. Once again, it was a domain in which the distance between my son and me was a question of wavelengths.

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