It is always the same and always different. It is our evening walk along the long ridge above Bourdeilles. It is our way to wind down the day. We call this walk the ridge walk. The walk takes about an hour. I have no idea how many miles it is because as soon as we start to walk all sense of time or distance evaporates into the great wide sky. This a time to visit with each other, a time to move out the legs and stop the brain, a time to observe life from on high.
Today we stopped our workday a bit early. The clouds that we could see from our edge of the river valley promised to be quite spectacular up on the ridge. Perhaps the ridge isn’t as high as we perceive it, but it climbs just high enough for us to sweep the bottom of the sky with our finger tips. As you emerge from the village into the farm fields that unroll themselves up and over the ridge, your heart opens. I can’t exactly explain what I mean by open, but I do know that I feel open all over, happy, peaceful, and always in awe of what is happening below me in the fields and above me in the sky.
Today’s sky was about as dramatic as they come. Drifting from horizon to horizon were continents, all the world’s ocean liners, incongruous snowdrifts, oyster shells and pearls. We hoped to grab a handful of one of these monsters. We wanted to stand under one and feel the enormity of such a colossus. We wanted to feel the state of water that created these shape-shifting masses of cloud.
And feel it we almost did. To our north, south, and east the encircling horizon offered bright clouds and blue skies. But turning west to head home the sky was full of battle ships - angry, forceful grey, fast-moving clouds. The sharp line between beautiful sunshine and driving rain announced an impending doom. This walk was going to end in our being drenched to the bone, but the show was too magnificent to make us care.
Luckily the storm edge of the clouds passed along the far side of the river valley. Not a drop on the ridge side. There would be puddles at home when we returned.
For us this is what the ridge is all about. It’s about being in the middle of something that, in intimate ways or in earth-rattling ways, changes everyday. It is experiencing the progress of the growth of the wheat, the wind rustling through crops, the days we have black berries and the days we have black clouds. Or sometimes it is just an hour with nothing but the feel of the big, wide, calm, sky surrounding us.
Thank goodness the dramas of these walks are also such an inspiration for Tom's works.