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Getting Creatively Lost: A Ramble Through France

Causse de Lauriol

Climbing the Causse de Lauriol.

My last neighborhood ramble was up the Causse de Lauriol, a limestone plateau past the outskirts of St.-Céré. It was the most heavily wooded walk, and, not surprisingly, as unlike the Pacific Northwest as could be. I saw few conifers, but many more bushes and low-lying trees, the most common being a type of small oak I’d come across throughout the valley. The top of the plateau gave splendid views for miles around. What I liked most, though, was a sense of peace and quiet, as if everything that could possibly make noise were far, far away. I did some deep thinking in that place, one of the most refreshing, reviving walks in ten days.

On the way up, I passed a small, well-tended vineyard, where the grapes looked rich and ripe. I noticed shiny materials hanging from the vines every row or two. I couldn’t tell whether they were DVD disks, aluminum pie tins, or strips of metal. I asked the owner, who happened to be chopping wood, and he said–predictably–that the shiny material deterred birds. I asked him more questions, as with what type of grapes, but he pretended not to know, the first and only time on my wanderings that anybody stonewalled me.

Conversely, while en route through the Causse de Lauriol, I encountered two guys and their dog running in the opposite direction. We wished each other bonne route. Later, when I passed the café where they were having a drink, one looked up, waved, and alerted his companion so he could wave too. That cheered me and took the sting out of my interaction with the surly grape farmer.

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