Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Day 431: My last days in France

Hiking through the French Alps
I feel conflicted about leaving France soon. I'm not going to lie: I fell in love with France. And I believe she loves me too. (Soon, I'll say that I know she loves me too.) This is my third trip in France, but it's in the Alps that the people won my heart over with their kindness and hospitality. It's been said that the kindest people in France are in the North; that they have big hearts there. I've never been. But I can say the people of the French Alps are some of the most wonderful people you can meet in the world.

I love my local butchers too. He has the best lasagne, even though it's an Italian dish. From him, I buy fresh filet mignon and cheesy potatoes. Sometimes, I buy a leg of rabbit or a quail. The quail is often sold out. His lentils with pieces of fat is also amazing. Just yesterday, I tried his smoked bacon, which was to die for.

How can you not love a people that care so much about food? It reflects their values in living an enjoyable and beautiful life.

I think the people of the village know I eat well; as they see me buying quail, filet mignon, rabbit, and the rich red wine I drink.

I've gotten to know the local baker, who has the best raspberry tarts, but those went out of season about two weeks ago. Now, he uses strawberries. He bakes the most wonderful rye bread and croissants. He speaks some English. He tells me, "You only care about food."

I smiled and laughed, embarrassed. I tell my uncle all the foods I eat every day, and he says, "You're going to get fat."

But I doubt it. I run almost every day through the Alps at sunset - when the sky becomes washed in a ruby and amethyst hue. Some of the trees are so tall and large, it seems like I'm nobody in this great world.

One time, I ran through the Alps after the rain, and it looked like clouds of steam and grayish-purple smoke were rising from the valleys of the mountains. It made me wonder if a dragon actually slept below the Alps. Perhaps, it's where the ancient Leviathan really lives. I wish I could find him and see him and then ride on his back into the heavens.

Another time, while running in the forest, I got caught in the rage of a storm. The brilliant blue lightning struck and two seconds later, the thunder roared, and the great rumble lasted for at least 6 seconds. Because I was so close the lightning, the noise was frightening. When Lucifer clashed against Michael and his angels, did the war in Heaven roar as loud as the thunder I heard that day?

A guy in a Mercedes felt bad for me, as he saw that I was wet, as wet as a stray cat in a storm. He picked me up and drove me back. That was kind of him.

Of course, you can imagine, I'm by myself a lot. I read the Bible and pray and reflect often. I do a lot of research, and if you've been following this blog - I've been writing a lot on the corrupt city. Maybe the fresh mountain air has inspired insights in me.

Some days after finishing a big pieces of research, I go to the local bar in the golden afternoon sun, take off my shirt, and bake in the Alp sunshine. My waitress brings me licorice alcohol, and I sit and think and enjoy myself. I'll sit and read my books. Of course, the locals have commented how bronze my skin has become.

If it's raining, I'll go see the baker - who'll serve me an espresso. After I drink it, I feel so happy, and I don't know why his espressos make me feel so happy.

Well, as the baker said, the summer is finished in France. It's definitely getting cooler up here, but today is nice and sunny and warm and beautiful. I should enjoy it. I have to make my way out of Europe now. And I can feel this chapter of my life closing; part of me doesn't want to let go, but part of me knows that life sometimes has clear chapters that end. Perhaps - it's more obvious for me with the end of summer in France - where everything comes alive and the people celebrate living life.

I missed and miss all my friends and family. I'll be so happy to see all of you. And I hope the cat and my friends' children remember me. I've learned: "À vaillant coeur rien d’impossible." (For a courageous heart - nothing is impossible.")

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