It’s a funny thing, flying to the other side of the world. The first time I got on a plane it was to come to Font- I still remember stepping off at CDG and letting the feeling sink in that there is actually another side to the globe, actually other places that we couldn’t just hop in the car and drive to.
This trip is my sixth to the Magic Forest. Six times I’ve sat through the often-hectic and always dull flight on a tiny tube full of winter-sick people and at least one screaming child.. Well, most of the time it’s not been that bad. This last one had all the negative bits though, so hopefully I’ll be paid up for the next few trips.
Driving into the Forest was an interesting sensation this time: a mix of homecoming and elation, as well as a touch of melancholia. I’ve spent over a year here now, and the processes of life have become familiar and automatic. Get off plane, get bags, get rental car, escape Paris, go to grocery store, head to gite, try to climb first day in, fight jet-lagged sleepless nights. Though this routine has become, well, routine, I still stifle giggles in the distinctly French markets and narrow winding roads cutting sharply through the farmland. I could really stand to not wake up at midnight, starving to death and ready to go, if I had my choice. Even now, midday, my brain is a sluggish mess.
It’s been raining here with some frequency up until I arrived, and the forest and rocks are all very wet, though cold weather and sunshine looms in the forecast, just a few days out. In the meantime: lots of food, coffee to regulate the nap urges, and tourism of sorts: coffee at dawn in a small cafe, watching the comings and goings of the working classes as they jumpstart their day with espresso tar, the city waking slowly like the sun creeping lazily though the winter fog to a grey light, old women opening up shop and sweeping off the step nod and wish passers by good day, as does everyone with whom you cross paths in the Forest.
Second day in, awake for a twenty-four hour stretch that includes climbing, tops off with a great bottle of wine and an evening with friends I’ve not seen in years, as well as friends only recently acquainted. Up till midnight, I sleep dead through the night til my alarm at nine AM. A bucket of strong coffee, and the cycle is set.
It’s good to be back.