You can never quarantine the past

Labor Day came and went, hot easterly winds. The tell-tale crunch of leaves. In mid September we drove to that strange town in the French mountains, Saint-Pierre des Champs. We rented a Eurovan and I was the only one who drove it: packed my mom in there, Dawn and hers and the kids (aged 2 and 4). What a crack-up that was, driving stick up those Roman roads through the mountains, no cell phone service. Wondering once we’d gotten there why exactly we came. The house owned by an English writer friend of my mom’s. The stairs kind of scary for toddlers and all the floors stone. Scorpions! Scorpions like pests, like millipedes. Mom smashing one with her hand and balling it up with the kitchen roll. We drove higher into the hills to the ruins where the Picts or Cathars held out before the slaughter but no one gave a damn, not the kids of course. Mom not as much. Dawn and her mom more so, historians. I itched for one of those two-hour French lunches with seafood and salad and lots of pink wine and bread. Instead we got a global pandemic and wildfires blowing ash our way, making the sky turn to haze. Dawn took the kids into the part of town they cordon off on weekends but I couldn’t muster the energy. I’d stained all the outdoor furniture with a jug of teak oil, took two Advil and poured myself an ale. Tried to nap in the hammock. Mid-September light is the best in early morning and evening, pink and gold. “It was more like a dream than reality, I must have thought it was a dream while she was here with me. When she was here, I didn’t think she’d leave. When she was gone, it was too much to believe. So with tomorrow I will borrow another moment of joy and sorrow. And another dream, and another…with tomorrow.”

Categories: Memoir, travel, writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Oh, scary scorpions! I’m likening them with this invisible scare corona. Wish they could as well be smashed with hand or with kitchen roll. Then there won’t be any quarantine necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have a huge spider in my window, planning


    • I have a huge spider in my window, building her web, planning a family. She’s welcome, but I’d draw the line at scorpions! Is it right the ones with large pincers are less dangerous because that means their venom is weaker and it’s the ones with small pincers you’ve got to look out for. Always love these reflective pieces from you – I can imagine you reclining in your hammock in the golden light. Sounds like the best place to be, the world as it is! Wonderful writing as always. Hope you and yours are well, Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn! Hi and nice to see you again! Happy days for spiders and writers I hope?! Yes, we’re well and wishing the same for you three. Hoping to see some of that old flash fiction again soon, bet you’ve sequestered yourself for a project…thanks for checking in!


  3. “Dawn and her mom more so, historians.” I’m not quite sure why this stood out to me (in a good way). But I like how this short not-sentence reads, speaks, and explains.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m missing all the music references. I’m downgrading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Spider can bug us from time to time, Bill. An interesting tale about wandering and discovering joy offered during the outings.

    Liked by 1 person

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