Last night, Tineke and Serge invited me along to their place for New Year's champagne and dinner: a delicious Alsatian sauerkraut prepared with the artistic skills of an extraordinary sculptress. When I left to drive home, shortly after midnight, snow was starting to fall. This morning, Gamone was once again all white... and Sophia was back in her natural element, as happy as a skier out on the Alpine slopes.
After burrowing into the snow with her snout, and rolling on her back, she shot off like a husky.
Admire the aerodynamic form of her ears, like the stabilizing fins of a Formula-1 racing car. Once she got up speed, she started to circle the yard like a greyhound in a racing stadium.
I have the impression that much of the pleasure, for Sophia, comes from the soft texture of the snow beneath her paws. At the seaside, too, she's thrilled by the possibility of racing across sandy beaches. The snow universe has the magical characteristic of wrapping itself softly around her paws, her snout and her body.
You know how we often wonder whether the red color that one person sees is the same as another person's sense of redness. Maybe your red is what I call green or yellow, and vice versa. I often imagine that Sophia sees a field of snow as a great expanse of blue sky. For me, the thing called "warmth" is what I obtain through wriggling my bare toes in front of the fireplace on chilly evenings. In the mind of Sophia, on the other hand, I've always been convinced that "warmth" is that marvelous sensation she experiences through her contact with snow.
The municipal snow plow cleared the road to Gamone in the middle of the morning, and Martine had no trouble in driving up here with the mail... including a huge cardboard box containing the hardware for a new Internet-based satellite TV connection.
The presence of the snow seems to augment the sense of isolation brought about by the fallen rocks and the blocked road to Pont-en-Royans. Martine—who knows everything that's happening in the neighborhood—tells me that the authorities will probably be opening up the road during the day, as of tomorrow, primarily so that the school bus can get through. Apparently, there are still quite a few rocks up on the slopes of the Baret that could come crashing down at any instant of the day or night. A few individuals (including our mayor, Bernard Bourne) are in favor of a so-called purge operation, which could even involve the use of explosives put in place by a helicopter. But that would be a highly delicate approach, which could even go completely wrong. (For example, an attempted purge might cause several rocks to pile up dangerously further down the slopes.) So, the preferred solution would consist of installing bigger and stronger nets, of the sturdy kind used in the vicinity of seaports to block enemy submarines. What an exotic idea: We're at war with the mountain!