Yesterday was the fête du village, the ‘Fête du Roser d’Albère’. I went because it used to be my village — my community, my ‘home’. My blog has its roots firmly in the terre of Albère, as I was naturally compelled to record the many experiences of my ‘new life’ up in the mountains (the last chain of the Pyrénées before they descend to the Mediterranean).
I noted seasonal changes and learnt about wild fruits of the forest, and cultivated a large vegetable garden. I knew every forest track and often ventured from the path or cleared access to areas that had been in use, centuries before — such was the life that evolved around the ‘bergerie’ of the old stone Mas that has its origins in the 13th century, standing on the frontier between France and Spain.
Much has changed. I didn’t take a single photo of the festivities, because I was happy to greet familiar faces — ‘novelty’ has been replaced by knowing. Yet it is also because I felt an undercurrent of sadness. We all stood in silence — a moment dedicated to the victims of recent tragedies labelled ‘le terrorisme’. We listened to the strong words of the mayor that supported solidarity, yet at the same time declared ‘war’. And then the cobla (the traditional Catalan orchestra) had everyone up dancing the sardane (after the apéro) and life continued, for August is festive and full of frivolity.
Which brings me back to ‘Panier of Plenty’. Once, my basket was full of whatever had been freshly harvested (in the title photo, the last of the tomatoes and the first autumn mushrooms). My cat Mina was always at my side, investigating and participating — even ‘mushrooming’.
Now, as I tread through the forest, down river, not a trickle of water remains. The magnificent gorge with its smoothed rock bed is dry — the trees crisp, unrecognisable. The mossy walls, so meticulously constructed to retain terraces, crumble.
Re-visting the past enables us to clarify the present — to affirm our direction, and to reaffirm what is important, or ‘where to direct our energy’. A new phase begins; My sense of belonging is not linked to a place, it is more temporary, and my awareness must be grounded in the present moment: appreciate each day; go with the flow it says, look for reasons to celebrate.
It is in this spirit that ‘plenty’ is found, in the simple pleasures, which in daily life, abound.