A Walk Along the River
Almost every day, I go on a walk with my trusty little companion, Snicket. The fresh air and movement while soaking in sights, sounds, and scents brings so much life to body, mind, and soul. This end of autumn season is truly glorious here in the Cévennes.
All of France is in “lockdown” or confinement at least until the middle of December. Besides essential shopping, work or appointments, we’re allowed (strange, strange times we live in) one hour a day of outdoor exercise, walking pets, children, etc. This being our second lockdown, we all seem to take it in stride. It somehow feels more manageable this time, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. I’m glad our required “attestation” (signed statement of the date, time, and the reason for being out) is now digitalized, pre-filled in, and easy to update each time we leave the house. I’m relieved that additional stores will open this weekend and the general atmosphere is more relaxed than the first time around. But, are we adapting, like proverbial frogs in a slowly boiling kettle, grateful to be allowed out of our houses?
This past week’s weather was exceptionally gorgeous. Soaring golden-leaved trees against a backdrop of brilliant blue skies never cease to delight me (and I have the dozens of photos to prove it!) The beauty of creation, again and again, reminds me of the love and care of the Creator. Even in our turbulent world, walking with my heavenly Father, all is well, in the deepest, truest sense.
One of our favorite walks is along the voie verte (literally the “green way”) alongside the river Vidourle. Many days, my feet take me there almost on auto-pilot. The path is set; I can let my mind wander and enjoy the sights while Snicket goes crazy sniffing in every scent possible. ,
We've had just the right amount of rain, and the river flows clean, dappling over sleek stones in hues of green, blue, gray, and gold. The air smells of earth, water, plants, and the tiny fish flashing about just beneath the surface.
Some days I press into prayer or face undealt with emotions. Other times, I let myself relax into the surroundings, letting the beauty soak in and smooth off rough edges. Breathing deeply of fresh air and sights, I remember to rest and receive the goodness around me.
Recently I wandered onto a path I seldom take. Routine is comfortable, but variety feeds the soul. I ended up tramping around the edge of a vineyard I usually only drive by and discovered a beautiful, old house I’d not seen before. Delight! Next time I’ll see if I can get closer (without trespassing!?) And as always, I wonder who built that home, were they the caretakers for the vineyards a century or two ago? The owners? What are the stories of the lives lived there?
As the world appears more unstable, unpredictable than ever, I treasure these moments of repose, of calm. Perspective is gained, and I’m reminded to be grateful for the gifts all around me, large and small. And, as I lean into thankfulness to the Creator of such beauty, my soul sings and swells with joy.
La vie est belle!