On the move

C’est vendredi. Je suis parti. However, this journey won’t be like yesterday’s 65 kms. to the abbey of Cluny.


I took little with me, knowing most historical facts would come later.

There was the expected excess of photos. Many already look the same now, less than 24 hours later. Yellow and white walls, sinfully high ceilings, signs to direct traffic.

I loved the out-of-place yellow.

The courtyard was paved with craggy, oblong cobblestones. I found a 10 or 20 cent Euro coin and felt rich. There were young people there. I just watched from the cloître.

Then the sound began. The heavens over the abbey rumbled and dimmed, and Cluny came alive. The warning was long and insistent. While I was outside in the gardens near the farinière, the rain began. Wet, threatening skies suddenly brought the ancient building to life and I could feel it breathe. The temperature dropped from 34 degrees C. to around 28 degrees and we all could breathe along with the building.

Toward the end of the visit, I found a locked grated door facing the Ville de Cluny. Is a grate really ever closed, though? I stood inside, watching the torrents. The little street flowed slightly downward, right into the cloister. Nevertheless, at the grate it seemed to stop, as if the hand of God were watching over the abbey.

What hand of God? Somebody else must have authorized that protective and invisible mechanism.

The return to Cuiseaux was perilous; I was determined to get shots of the most beautiful paysage in the world and kept forgetting the road. The view around the Saône River was worth the moments of near-suicide.

That was yesterday. Today I’m leaving Cuiseaux and the Hôtel Bourgogne, simplest of lodgings (but with strategic pink highlights), for the Château-de-Joudes in Saint-Amour. The journey of 8 kilometers will take 8 days to complete. This leaves no time for road trips, all movement will take place in the same place with a handful of other people. We will have no place to go but art, willing prisoners that we are, in a cell of paper and paint. Kind of like the Cárcel de Amor, rendered in English as either the Castle of Love or the Prison of Love.

The irony of the translation does not escape me. Nor does the fact that both the 15th century Spanish and the Galician I never studied are easier to understand than modern French.

Now I am in Saint-Amour, already weary of seeing hearts everywhere.


I am missing Cordes and its environs with everything inside me.


Traveling alone is a challenge at any age; some never do it. The valise I’m carrying around in my head keeps getting heavier.

Ghosts weigh more than you think.