I’m sitting on a hunter’s platform overlooking a valley. Right in the middle of it I can see what I think is the outskirt of La Roche. A river twists and bends its way through the city and then the trees and I imagine myself walking there only a few hours before. The signage hadn’t been very clear to me and I’d felt utterly lost, after a few confused looks at the map I’d picked up earlier I’d mustered my best french and asked a local man if I was going the right way. Yes, he said, and he said it with so much confidence I had trusted him entirely. A little further down the road, I’d asked another group of locals again and they had said yes with perhaps even more confidence than the first. It was probably because of that, that it took a little while before I found out, but I found out soon enough to eventually find my way looking around and behind trees and signposts. They had sent me the wrong way, I guess it’s just the tourists walking these routes and not the locals. It didn’t really matter, though, the tracks and climbs and views were just as beautiful. It was just a little harder to navigate, walking a different route from the one I’d planned in the opposite direction.
Suddenly the clouds break and illuminate the town below, making it seem like the centrepiece of a carefully directed show. My tin of canned sardines is empty, my hands have trouble forming words on the paper in my lap and my socks are still as soaked as they had been when I’d stopped.
And just like that, with that sudden break of the clouds my own had finished for no other reason than it just had. I put my socks back on and slid my feet in my similarly wet boots, jumped off the platform and strapped on my backpack. For a while I slid right and left over a country road, jumping puddles with my camera at my right side, where it belonged, and then I reached the edge of the opening and I was back amongst the giant trees. Brown and green pine needles covered the soft ground underneath my feet and I could barely hear myself walk. It was just the sun and the wind now, my own breathing and the chatter of the birds. All there was left was the last descent into the village, so I filled my lungs once more with the fresh air of the mountains, and carefully printed in my mind the views and smells before I made a vow to come back as soon as I could.