I mentioned before that I started the new year by going on a retreat high up in the Pyrenees. It seemed like a perfect way to start the year – I love the mountains. The clean air, the jagged landscape, the peace and tranquility; evoking feelings that make me come over all Julie Andrews. Just picture me now, running across a meadow, then spinning around and singing “The hills are alive, with the sound of music!” You’ve got it.
My friend and I were staying in her house in the Pyrénées-Orientales. A 16th century stone barn high atop a rocky hill, and the facing hill is in Spain. This place is roughly 150kms south-east of where I live. As I look out across ravens are circling and cawing and oh my, I can see horses on the hill. Oh yes, I’m going to love it here.
That first night I looked up at the sky. No light pollution here, just a endless deep blue-black sky studded with abundant twinkling stars. We came to work, I was to finish my website (ha!) and she was to do some writing plus some computer housekeeping, but in the end neither of us got much ‘work’ done as we had planned. We did however, take some great walks, eat good food, drink a lot of wine and talk endlessly. I also had the opportunity to use up the colour film in my camera left over from Christmas. Sadly the camera came with a random light leak, but whatever.
The Pyrenees are known for their changeability and so the brilliant sunshine suddenly became grey and cold galeforce winds that I battled and failed to take good photographs with my pinhole camera.
But it soon turned around and the bright sun and dusting of frost returned next day and with it, fire and ice. A frozen solid swimming pool and these sunsets…
On our last morning I got up early, made the fire and some tea and let Cass the dog out. I drink my tea watching a yellow shaft of light on the Spanish mountain opposite get broader, melting the glistening frost and waking the ravens who start their ritual calling, circling, weaving and diving. The sky is clear and I watch the trace of a jetstream, wondering what those up there in the metal box see looking down on the Pyrenees landscape.
I take Cass up the footpath winding up through the hills towards the border. The track passes under a barrier where France ends and opens up into No Man’s Land. Beyond it the dust track becomes tarmac and Spain starts. Here in the wide open space stands the ‘Temple of Peace’, a monument dedicated to the thousands of exiles who crossed the Pyrenees during the Spanish Civil War.
How everything in this world is so cyclical.
France, then Spain
Nikon FE | Fujifilm 800