Jaufré Rudel - Wednesday 18 March - Before Easter, Esplas de Sérou
The grass intoxicates some troubadours before the days become “long in May”, as said the distant Jaufré Rudel.
Voltaire - 17 April
This morning Voltaire would have frozen his sneering laugh. As the entire earth is praying for a good return of the cosmonauts, a landslide swallows up a sanatorium for children in the French Alps.
25 December - La Tour du Crieu
Snow around the “Caminets”. A mad dog passes galloping, watering “in a fly-past” the pine-trees under the kitchen window. Minette the black one and Capucine, lilac-coloured in the evening twilight - the two cats of the family - venture prudently to the selvedge of the base of the house out of the blond stone of Boussens. The mountain crests break up a dazzling light. A woodfire is crackling in the chimney grate.
This is near-quiet near-immobility, and yet the round ball continues in space its keplerian route.
On the 24th in the evening I accompanied Domi as far as the door of the Presbytery where “ Sauto Barralhos ” (“ Jump Hedges ”) puts in place a living manger, thus competing with Vals the rupestrian, a few miles from here. Domi has the rôle of st Joseph for the man of God has, ably, given her to understand that her grandfather would be content (he was indeed called Joseph). As for “ Sauto Barralhos ”, thus nicknamed by popular malice at the time where the holy man carried out his ministry in a mountain village, because one saw him come down the slopes through paths and vales as far as the valley of Vicdessos, so “ Sauto Barralhos ” had heated the church with a few bottles of prudently inflamed alcohol, which did not prevent Domi from catching a severe cough, and her grandmother reproaching heaven for not having had pity with the health of the “little girl”.
29 December, 15 h
Arrived at Esplas de Sérou, cross Las Esplaneros. Mossy sources, lawn softer than sleep, sheep walking through the dew searching for new grazing. The bell rings at the church. Sky yellow, crystal blue flooding the landscape which is “foaming with rays”. It is ecstasy ‘or nearly). Not a cloud, neither in the head, or in the sky, nor in the heart.At the Castet de Toch, brambles, thorns, nettles, wasp stings and “this bee with red thighs which is at the summit of the thistle”.
Friday 1st January, 16 hours 30, Blagnac Long live the New Year !
I missed the train at 16 hours 13, last night, which was to transport me to Toulouse in order to take the aeroplane for Paris I drink a hot chocolate at “L’Horizon”, first floor of the airport. The waitress has shadows round her eyes (for having played with the lips in order to inaugurate the new year ?). At registration I leave the parcel containing the blanket and the cushions bought at Laroque d’Oydes in the factory shop where the sales lady in trousers, face roughly shaped, walks about with an astonishingly feline backside. “ I wish it long and juicy for you ”, one of my girl-schoolmates at the lycée Febus, in the fifties, trumpeted to all and sundry, when school started again in January.
19 hours 40, on board the Caravelle ‘Air Inter, seat 18, C. Between my legs the goose conserve in a big stoneware pot prepared at the “Caminets”. I now travel in the Caravelle as my grandmother travelled by hiccuping bus between St Martin d’Oydes and Saverdun, via Esplas-par-Brie, in the heart of the (quasi tuscan) hills of the Terrefort.
Thursday 18 janvier
The American assistant of the Lycée de Chaillot proposes to me to go and teach Provençal in North Carolina, while, in the schoolyard, the pupils are on strike : creeping like snail, unwillingly to school.
Honoré d’Urfé - 18 April
“ On the banks of these delectable rivers, one has seen at all times a fair number of shepherds, who , for the goodness of the air, the fertility of the river banks and their natural sweetness, live with as much good fortune as they have little recognition for fortune “. (Honoré d’Urfé, l’Astrée)
Claude d’Esplas (Le Parcellaire)
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Translation : Dagmar Coward Kuschke (Tübingen)