It is October the 12th and the sun continues to shine here in Sauve. It has been eight weeks since the last rain. There are farms whose wells are dry in the Cevennes Mountains and springs which cease to flow. I am loving the beauty of the
golden light but I feel for the earth which needs the water of life. Yesterday hiking up to le Col de Fosse, the Pass of the Pit, I could finally appreciate the wildness of the Cevennes. We walked on un chemin which was built by the Romans which had originated in Milan, Italy and went all the way to Burgundy. It was a trade route and well maintained with granite stones placed eons ago by slaves undoubtedly. Climbing past ruins of stone houses and walls to enclose sheep I learned that at one time three million sheep used to make the annual transhumance in summer to graze on the cooler mountain pasturage, where only one percent of that number make the journey today. In Roman times the entire economy was based around the raising of sheep. Now only a few strident bergers make a living tending their flocks among the great granite boulders along with those who seek the solitude and rough simplicity of living far from the madding crowd. It was at one such stone house that we stopped to have un café noir et du chocolate on the shady east side of the col. Jeremy, an expat from England is restoring a stone house which had once been a toll house for the passing herds of sheep in Roman times and later a refuge for the French Resistence in WWII where sadly seventy men had been slaughtered by the Nazis in an ambush. As I looked at the garden and the last of the fall cosmos blooming their magenta flowers I thought of how many lives had passed by this site yet revived again by another generation of dreams and hard manual labor. He and his wife and three children run basic gite for hikers qui fait des randoneés throughout the region. This morning I pulled a hand full of fragrant thyme from my pocket gathered from amongst the rocks and fat chestnuts scattered along the paths with their prickly bogs and crisp coquant dry leaves….oh the sound of the crunchy leaves! It is good to have thyme in ones pocket…to savor life.