Wallflower Dispatches

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The Charming Mountain Goat – Snow

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

Regardless of what will happen throughout the rest of the day, the last twenty-four hours will enter into the folklore of our village history.

Perhaps it will be known as “l’hiver de deux-mille douze”, maybe we will refer to it as “l’année de la grande neige”.

Outside our house next to the disused water fountain stands a small snowman of about a metre. The village is quiet because the snow that began falling yesterday around 1pm has grown to a height of about 30 centimetres and stayed.

Not only does it muffle the familiar noises of footsteps in the small alley ways, but has also arrested any traffic on the main road that leads to civilization which feels a little further away than it did a few hours ago.

The morning after the night of snowfall unfolded slowly. Most schools in the surrounding area were closed partly because there was an official “ban” on the circulation of public transport decided and pronounced by the préfecture of the Var.

At about 11 o’clock it seemed that everyone in the village had woken up and took a tour to drink in the unusual sight of our medieval Mediterranean enclave dressed in pure white.

Around the same time, the electricity failed. “Mais”, as Émile who we bumped into navigating the snow put it: “ça donne encore plus de charme à la situation.” He smiled like an excited child.

By 2 o’clock we were cooking rice on our Godin woodburning stove and began living on leftovers.

In the British Isles, the subject “weather” is a security blanket for avoiding any meaningful conversation and keeping intimacy at bay politely.

Today we all indulged in discussing the elements with the eyes of a three-year old, the unstoppable enthusiasm of someone newly in love, the camaraderie of humans in an exceptional situation, marveling at the simply profound beauty of nature.

In fact, my eyes are still sparkling a little from squinting at the sun through the glistening chestnut tree at the end of our road.

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