Or more precisely, the clouds have descended to 250 meters above sea level to envelop all our heads. Except it’s not mere fog, oh no. The clouds are wispy enough that the sun looks like an actual orb, a milky white moon-like ball in the steam gray sky.
See, I’ve never lived in the country before. Every morning I wake up, open my shutters, and breathe in whatever air happens to be outside my window. Recently, there’s been a smell of autumn — musty leaves, burning grass, roasting chestnuts, ripe pumpkins and apples. Every night I spend the last two minutes before bed at my open window, no matter what the weather or chill, staring up at the stars or the moon or — much rarer — both. When the moon glows, its halo outshines all but the closest and brightest of stars. This doesn’t happen in the suburbs of Chicago, let alone in NYC.
Today was also market day in Aubenas. Took an hour to get in, an hour wandering at the market, and 45 minutes to get back…life would be so much easier with a car. But I got more fresh gnocchi and ravioli, blue cheese sausage and duck sausage, dried strawberries and pears, and three different kinds of bread. This boulanger (baker) knows me now. He sees me almost every week at the L’argentière market, and he’s very friendly, and we chat, and he’s started giving me samples of different amazing kinds of bread. Last week he gave me a piece of fouace, a sweet bread that I swear served as the origin of coffeecake. This week it was a slice of a dark olive-basil bread, which is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. I don’t even like olives. I love village markets.
With the markets and all, though, there is one problem that I’ve been encountering fairly regularly, as in almost every time I walk down into town from my place halfway up the mountain. I always get this overwhelming urge to sing a few lines from Beauty and the Beast: “Little town, it’s a quiet village. Every day like the one before.” It really is a poor Provincial town. But it’s meant lovingly.