The painting is flying by! I’ve added a river for the rivulet to flow into and now I am onto to beginning the Cirque.
The Innkeeper of my campground recommended a secret vista on a secret bald for the best view. I followed her instructions going on the high road, ducking under the barb wire fence, and up an old trail with low hanging branches up to a notch in the rocks that I must climb to reach this pleasant meadow.
There was word of weather coming that afternoon so I brought my tent fly to string up between some trees to provide cover. The sky was blue and I was excited to begin. The easel was up, the painting mounted, the paints and palette laid out with my brushes in the water cup. Acold shadow replaced the warm sun and the thin bluebird ribbon had turned dark and thunderous. Rain began to fall. My tarp whipped violently. I couldn’t paint now.
My afternoon was idle so I ate early. The French don’t eat until eight o’clock. I found a place that opened at seven. I declined a beer as I’d had two earlier killing time in the Inn. This establishment’s pizza was c’est bon. Authentic Italian pizza in France that does not exist in America. Knife and fork were supplied as is tradition. I cut my pie into slices and ate it Brooklyn style.
Dinner was over too soon, it wasn’t quite 8:30. What to do on this misty night? No TV to watch. I could read my book but I don’t want to finish it. I went for a campground shower. My shower token guaranteed 7 minutes of hot water. I realized I had left my towel in Lourdes and opted with using my dirty long sleeve button down academic adventure shirt because it had lots of surface area.
The coin was inserted and no water came out. Ah! There was a knob. It was not a knob but a button however. By pressing the button all the way down the shower spat out 7 seconds of hot water, the first second being cold. After seven seconds the water stopped and had to be pressed again and again and again. Having done the math, the token gave me 60 pumps of one second cold six seconds hot. Not the relaxing shower experience I desired.
Ugh! It was still light out and only nine o’clock. My brain wasn’t ready to sleep. I went for a walk up the river past town and into the National Park. It was certainly last light, that time well after sundown when the faint evidence of light is almost imagined. I strolled up and up the cobblestones. I had half a mind to walk all the way up and under Europe’s highest waterfall, but that was too far and too much. There’s nothing in these mountains to be afraid of at night. No bears, no snakes, only the passing horse or donkey. It’s safe, like swimming way out in the Medd.
I walked on. My only worry was some late night driver coming by and spotting this weirdo walking in the dark mist. If I saw lights coming my plan was to jump over the stone wall and hide to avoid the encounter. I found an overlook of a large rapid in the river coming down from the Cirque. Looking down in this light a clear view of the river bottom could be seen through the glassy wave before the falls. Under the clear water there was a huge boulder of a weathered burnt orange quartz color. The water moved so quickly over it, and into it. The boulder held its ground as it must have for a thousand years. What a life. It must be like when you fall waterskiing and forget to let go of the tow rope, inundating every orifice of your face with water. The boulder has experienced this forever and seems not to mind.
This was a good turnaround point. It was dark now. As I walked back I noticed the misty orbs of light from the hillside chalets. There weren’t many of these houses but each embodied everything I’ve ever wanted in a home.
Getting closer to town I faintly saw two tiny green lights tucked into the stone wall beside the road. Upon close inspection I saw the light came from the end of an oblong bug! The light was a strong green. The bug it was attached to was not of the flying variety but more of a docile centipede. I went to touch one and it fell off the wall, unmoving. I thought I killed it, but the light was still on. Looking closer it was doing just fine, stretching it’s back but in no hurry. The other acted the same. These were the sloth koalas of lightning bugs.
Whether you believe in magic or not, these bugs are magic despite any scientific explanation. I considered swallowing one to see if I became a cartoon boy who was responsible for captaining a giant peach to New York City with a crew of scallywag insects.
But I didn’t. I let them be. I wanted to tell someone what I’d seen and ask what they were. I decided to keep it to myself though. Sometimes it’s best to stay suspended in a dream with no explanation. My fortuitous encounter with the glow worms of the Pyrenees that I alone knew how to talk to. Your secret is safe Neverbugs.