At First Flash of Eden
My wife and I had been in Lorraine a couple of years before, on our way to the south of France. Just two hours, but the memory of the view from a hill overlooking the low plains had ever since been lingering in my mind.
There was a chapel on top of that hill. As I had stood next to the chapel watching the wide open space, the vastness of the landscape had invaded my head. It was as if I was back for a split second in the Garden of Eden.
I had felt oneness and openness: for a moment I believed in everyone.
As we descended the hill, we had spotted a flock of hoopoes in the meadows.
So when we booked our next vacation in Lorraine, I hoped to find the same spacious feeling in my head again. And some flocks of hoopoes too.
The house we had rented stood on top of a hill overlooking the green rolling countryside and a small dormant volcano nearby. When the sky was clear, we could see the mountain range of the Vosges to the east, some 40 miles away.
To the west was the hill with the chapel on it. In the red, purple sunset its tower glowed like a golden finger pointing towards heaven. As evening fell foxes, hares and a pair of roes used to wander in the meadows on our hill’s slope. No sounds of cars or trains were to be heard. Just once in a while the faint buzz of a plane flying high overhead in the late night starry sky. It felt like paradise and not for all the money in the world I didn’t want to spoil that feeling.
So deliberately I avoided the news. I only bought a local newspaper once in a while. It contained only one page with international news that I neatly avoided. But the local obituaries to deceased people were a pleasure to read.
This way the frightening wars and the even more frightening rumors of wars seemed far away.
Much to our regret we didn’t spot hoopoes, but red kites and golden orioles were abundant. And though it’s common knowledge that one should never try to repeat feelings once felt in the past, after a few days the healing spaciousness of the landscape crept into my head again.