Five pm and the sun was setting casting a rusty orange glow over the empty fields as I drove up the one-lane road to Tourré. I turned the corner and there she stood in quiet majesty just as I’d left her in August. A ranch-style stone house with a covered yet wide open terrace, she welcomed me back for a too-short week of rest and writing.
I had been afraid that I would be disappointed in Le Gers once the summer was over. In the summer, the fields are full of people-sized sunflowers, their huge heads following the daily path of the sun until, in mid-August, they are bowed way down by the weight of their dying beauty, waiting to be cut and turned into sunflower oil. These same fields are now brown and bumpy from being turned over by huge machines plowing their way up and down the non-existent rows. A glorious burnt-sienna light is spreading out quilt-like over the gentle ups and downs of the Gers countryside.
If anything, it is more beautiful than summer.
I parked my Renault Clio and sat in an arm chair looking back the way I’d arrived. Taking in the absolute quiet, the solitude of the surrounding Tuscan-like landscape. It is a gentle, spacious and friendly landscape. One that hasn’t changed in decades.
At night, the half moon will quiver in the slight wind and cold as I stand under the heavens reminding myself of the constellations that I can’t see in Paris.
I feel full of anticipation. To be here, to walk here drinking in every golden leaf, every blade of grass, every spire of each church that stand in the center of the many hamlets of fourteen or fifteen homes. There are no big cities in Le Gers. Just small villages and hamlets, some still have the ramparts surrounding them that were built in the 13th/14thcenturies. There are no large byways only two lane roads that never have many cars on them, although those cars are always speeding.
I read that there are more animals here than people. It is a place that God has favored, loved and cared for. I am so grateful to have found this place, to be able to spend time here. Now I realise it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, it will be beautiful. It’s Le Gers. Trite as it sounds, I feel my heart leap into my throat each time I turn off D931 and make my way back ‘home’.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it.