I know the month of February has Valentine’s Day and that gives a certain aura of lovey-dovey-ness to it and I know this probably sounds corny, but it was the month of February that I fell head over heels in love – with the south of France. The Languedoc-Roussillon area, to be exact. I never planned it that way, though true love is never planned.
I was mostly prepared for a 2000km journey, via car by myself, from Calpe, Spain to Schiedam, Netherlands. Assuming I would drive only during daylight hours, I had intended to complete the trip in approximately 3 days. No reservations were ready; I was simply going to stop at a highway hotel when the sun started to set. Well, the best laid plans, as they say, set me off onto something I will never forget.
It was a dark and stormy night and I found myself on the top of a mountain, in the rain, in the blackness that can only be found on a mountain with no human induced lighting. The massive rock on the sides of the road seemed to jump out at me as I was twisting and turning along the road. Evidently, I was the only one silly enough to drive up there in the pitch dark; not one car had passed me or come the other way. Even with my bright lights on, I was getting spooked as it felt like the mountain was swallowing me up. Heart racing, I saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel – and they were manmade. Pulling in, I had no idea where I was – even the name of the hotel didn’t reflect the little village I had found refuge. I knew I was north of Montpellier and Beziers and that was about it.
Thankfully, they had a room at the Inn for me. Dropped the bags in the room and set off downstairs to find a glass of wine. Feeling quite silly, I found the nerve to ask the clerk where I was. She pointed on a map the name of the town I was spending the night – Le Caylar, Hérault, Languedoc, France, population 445.
The wine was most welcomed as I relived my harrowing journey up the dark mountain. After some email replies and Facebooking (Facebook is a verb?) I hit the pillow as I knew I had another long day of driving ahead of me in a few short hours.
Awaking early, I gobbled down my breakfast as I was anxious to see where I was in the whole scheme of things. Unfortunately the weather was utterly not cooperating and I was to drive in fog and rain. Packed and full, I drove off knowing somehow I will eventually get off this mountain.
Have you ever had one of those days where you get busy and before you know it, the day has disappeared on you? This was one of those days. I’m sure my angels put my car on auto-pilot and kept me safe as my eyes were definitely not on the road; I couldn’t take my eyes off of the beauty of the countryside. Every little valley was another picture perfect village. Every little village had picture perfect houses and shops. I wanted to stop and explore each and every little storybook town.
I left my heart in that part of the world. I don’t know how to pinpoint it but it felt like home. It felt so comfortable. This was definitely some sort of remembrance. It felt like this is what I’ve been missing my whole life. It felt like this place was drawing me in to somehow complete me. I honestly can’t explain it except that I was mesmerized like I’ve never been mesmerized before. It was honestly ethereal and joyful and I didn’t want it to end. I was stunned to find myself in Paris 8 hours later, with 700 km under my belt. If I would have had to guess, I would have put my advancement in the 300 km, maybe driving for a couple of hour’s but not much more than that. I was in certainly in the zone. The day is still with me permeating my dreams and coloring my moments.
I have decided that our next block of time needs to be spent in this area so I can merely examine this longing and urging that’s drawing me in. Is there something there I need to do? Is it where my heart will sing? Will I find my calling or what some call a life purpose? Or is it simply a beautiful place to live life and my subconscious realized wanted to get my attention to this fact?
Coincidently, when I was in Holland I purchased a book (sealed in plastic so I had no way of knowing) simply named Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. I only bought it because it was in English (which, by the way, are very hard to come by). Imagine my surprise when I removed the plastic only to find the book is based in the Languedoc! Surely, that must be a sign, don’t you think?
I simply must journey back to this area and discover. An exploration, if you will, on many different levels. Ironically, on this adventure of mine, I have been taking photos of old doors in the various locations we have traveled. I had no idea that they would foreshadow a decision I would have to make. For but now I have no choice now but to open that door.