April Showers, Present Moment, A trip to the Cevenes
April, usually a beautiful month full of sunshine and spring flowers has been turned on it's head and spilling rain everyday, but a few. Nothing worse than a gray rainy April. Another lesson in living in the now as that is all we have.
Living in the present is something that Jean and I have been pursuing for awhile now, but every once in awhile it seems to become even more important. The more we get ahead of ourselves, the more we persist, the more something resists.
Coming down the homestretch of Jean's dissertation he ran into a HUGE - BIG _ GRAND - snafu, in which some data was later submitted by a lab resulting in Jean having to redo all his data analysis. This is the time when emotions have to be put aside and the work just has to be done. Being present in the moment is required. April rain didn't help either!
We've been reading Eckhart Tolle's book and listening to Oprah in her webcast with him about being present, living in the now and detaching yourself from the ego. Heavy stuff but important- and well Oprah is great at bringing it home. After reading it, you wonder why we even have an ego as it only seems to get us in trouble as individuals, as groups, as countries, and as a world ready to defend our own beliefs against anyone who is different.
Meanwhile we finally took a break with a few days of sunshine and went up to the Cevennes mountains, north of Montpellier. A mountain range quite large by any standard with three specific different rocks dating thousands of years old. After searching the internet we settled on a Chambre d'hote Ferme de Vimbouches which had animals for Zoe to see, a nice room and homemade meals served twice a day family style. Situated in the Parc de Cevennes, a protected national park, all the homes, farms, and buildings are built in the original architecture with the same Schist stone. New houses are not allowed and all repairs have to follow strict guidelines. The Schist stone is seen throughout a great part of the region and at first glance looks as though walls have been built on mountain edges. At closer examination it is rock itself that has split into layers giving it the effect of being hand built.
Visiting the farm we played with the animals and hiked the mountains in the sunshine (that finally appeared!!!). Through a chestnut grove with millions of chestnut casings scattered on the ground.
Later the next day we went horseback riding with a set of Pyrennes Horses, brown-black of a gentle nature through a different part of the park with a totally different type of landscape. The woman had her horses up on the mountain and as a result we all had to brush, clean the horses hoofs and saddle them up before riding. Even I learned to clean their hooves..
Dinner was a family affair with two other families with kids; a great big salad with chestnuts, mashed potatoes with cheese that was so thick it was cut with a scissors, and sanglier or wild boar in a sweet wine sauce.
The next day we headed out to a natural park for kids with rope bridges and nets, hanging tree art, and sensory experiments in nature. Zoe flying across the river. By the way we didn't have a backpack so Jean improvised with a recyclable shopping bag on his back!!!
All in all, there is nothing like being in nature to bring you to the present moment....