I’m going for a walk. My eyes are open. The crisp air is satisfying.
Somewhere, smack dab in the middle of the south of France, there exists a small village (see below) that has been a second home to me for over 20 years.
When I first stepped foot in Aigremont, there were but 300 full-time residents. Today, two decades later, the village, which remains awfully small, has yet doubled in size.
As I walk through the patchwork fields in its vicinity, the village seems scrappy, nestled between my random souvenirs of the past and my high hopes for the future, and I hop over puddles of mud.
I spy wild boar tracks in the crusty dirt path that I follow blindly.
On a hill, under an immense sky, the panoramic landscape feels sublimely intense. The Mistral wind blows through the long grass before me.
Rows of wise grapevines twist under a setting sun.
Pruned branches are thick and rigid, a lifetime of sprouting upwards at right angles.
Olive leaves are two-toned, double-sided, appearing delicate with the robust winter cold – yet grow strong as their thirst perpetuates…
And I’m reminded of why it’s so hard to admit that I hate this place.