Between the days of hard blue skies, sometimes we awake to discover that the fog has crept in on little cat feet.
Unable to see the rooftops from the window. Unable to see the road up the hill. Unable to see even across the yard. Thick. Dark white. Quiet.
When it had lifted enough not to be treacherous to venture out on foot–the roads have no shoulders, and I didn’t want a passing car to send me into a ditch–I was enchanted by the “fog filter” on the countryside.
It’s funny to see how things turn green in winter. The wheat fields are becoming emerald carpets. The grass and weeds between the rows of vines, left to hold the topsoil in place, are lush.
The pine trees that can become kindling for wild fires in summer are now verdant, as if razzing the deciduous plants whose finery is gone until spring.
Some of the vines have leaves left, but others are bare. Wintry. The wine growers are busy trimming while the weather is mild.
Others are out in the vines, too. The other day we were stopped on a main road for a boar hunt that was passing through. I’ve never seen a boar, but I hear there are too many.
Even on a fog-filter day, there are bursts of color. On this side of the hill, only the sound of the wind in the pines and the songs of birds. On the other side, the cars on the departmental road create a constant thrum. Electric vehicles can’t get here fast enough.
And finally, the fog lifts, and we see the majesty of the mountains. Is that still France? Or is it Spain? Or Andorra? In Nepal, the guest house had the Himalayan peaks traced on the window, with names pointing to crest. You stooped until you lined up the mountain view with the correct outlines and figured out which one was Mount Everest. Because they others weren’t high enough to worry about.
Though I’m mildly curious about which peak is which, I don’t want to let a focus on superlatives like “highest” take away their collective magnificence.
Happy holidays to all. We are taking a break until after the New Year, as the French do, in order to focus on friends and family at hand.