Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn dawn

A quarter of an hour ago, viewed from my bathroom window, the Cournouze looked this:

Within five minutes, the cloud layer was starting to reflect the pale light of the rising sun upon the trees on the slopes of the valley of the Bourne.

Five minutes later, the Technicolor show was over. One has to act rapidly to obtain images such as these. Often I say to myself that my Antipodes blog has started to instill in me something akin to the reflexes (but not, alas, the skills) of a photographer.


  1. A truly beautiful sight William.

  2. A few days ago, I visited my local GP (general practitioner in Australia, physician in the USA) for a regular checkup. I explained to him that, if I were a reasonable well-organized individual (which is rarely the case), I would start making plans to sell the Gamone property, because I can't imagine myself still living here in solitude in five to ten years' time. I see myself residing rather on the edge of a village (there are lots of them in rural France), within walking distance of a few small shops and cafés, with a garden for my dogs. I told the GP that I now spend most of my time in front of my computer, engaged in creative writing and genealogical research. To carry on that kind of existence, I don't really need to be holed up in an ancient hermitage on the slopes of Choranche, facing the wilderness and leading a kind of monastic (but godless) existence. I went on to explain that I do a lot of science reading, and I took my iPad out of my bag to show the GP an electronic book in this domain. I also showed him my Antipodes blog. The GP admired the various photos of Gamone, the landscape, my dogs and my donkeys. Then he looked at me with a grin, and asked a kind of rhetorical question: "So, you're trying to tell me that you're locked away in a room up at your place, seated in front of your computer, and that you no longer pay much attention to the real world around you at Choranche? What about all those photos on your blog?" I laughed, because he had made his point. The GP is a common-sense man, and he sought to define the situation more precisely, as if he were using clinical terms to describe my state of health: "Let's say that, for somebody who says he doesn't need his surroundings, you seem to be highly inspired by them."

  3. William,

    Your comment should have been another post. It's a shame to have hidden these important thoughts in a comment.

    A good friend of mine, many years ago, said on the subject of neighbours: "If you don't want them, you'll have to buy the horizon!"

    You must stay where you are and keep entertaining and informing us. Please.

  4. Yes, Annie, it's a big decision, which I've talked about with my ex-wife and daughter. In fact, it's a precautionary approach, rather than an actual decision. In a way, I'm wary of such gloomy but fleeting autumnal thoughts… and I've always realized that they get worse in winter, when life here at Gamone becomes rude and risky. I have to be realistic, without becoming alarmist. Christine (my ex-wife) is perfectly aware of the situation, because she too lives on her own in a big rural house up in Brittany. The first question she asked me was: "Can you be sure that you could live in a village, away from the nature of Gamone?" It's quite possible, indeed likely, that the only true answer to that question is no. This simply means that, if I were forced to abandon Gamone, I would be unhappy for a while. Clearly, in bringing this question to the surface, explicitly but not dramatically, I'm making an effort to be pragmatic. In such a context, there's an interesting angle that some of us evoke from time to time: If I suddenly found it difficult, if not impossible, to drive (on the icy road up to Gamone in winter, for example), would it be feasible to use the Internet to get food supplies delivered here? The answer seems to be yes. Then, there's the highly significant affair (which I've deliberately refrained from mentioning in my blog for the moment, since it's premature) of the likely future arrival of friendly new neighbors. In any case, whatever actions I might decide upon at this level, I must always approach this subject in the context of my ex-wife and our two children.