Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 10 : The Body and Writing

Perhaps I should say "The Body" vs. "Writing"?  I think of reading Nijinski's cahiers (pub Actes Sud) years ago and how in his first days and entries he focused so often on the body and writing, the stillness of it, the minute muscles used and others not in motion.  

Here it is the opposite.  Each day I rise between 6h45 and 7h and think first about how the body feels--does it need more stretching?  What aches?  How is that light sprain in my right ankle doing and will I be able to keep going.  It always hurts less in the morning than I think it will the night before, when my muscles are tired and tight and sleep either rushes in or keeps galloping away.  New walls, beds.  

I have taken pictures of the most peculiar things, such as the beds, the rooms.  My body not the size of a French one, my feet hanging off beds, over bedframes.  Or the giant bed in Cancay I could have slept a half-dozen of me in.  Images, two second snaps, outside language, not as demanding...

And now I am in a new village (Sepmès) and tomorrow I will be in another, then Chatellrault and onto Poitiers, always turning farther south, now often followig the GR trails of France: shells marking my way as I follow like the cows I pass in the fields almost numbly along in the summer heat, no shade.  

Solitude: should be ideal for the writing.  All the words are in my head, all the language my own.  As I am still alone.  I did meet another pélerin in Tours while staying at the convent there: Les Soeurs de la basilique St Martin (for many who may not know this, there is also a St Martin pilgrimmage, for which there are lovely white stelle throughout the Touraine region which follow also the same path as the St Jacques trail).  However, the pélerin I met, Ehric, who had carved and inked his very own staff to walk with (absolutely gorgeous, minute detailed work as opposed to my light trekker Decathalon walking poles--which do help a TON keeping weight off the knees, especially when going up and down hills!) Anwyay, Ehric left a day after me, and so is somewhere on route to Montbazon today, and then tomorrow will in fact be here, exactly where I am, as I found this lovely house stay in Sepmès via him (he has organized his route all the way through spain, whereas I.... well, I do know where I will be staying through early next week, then I am skipping from just below Poitiers to St Jean Pied du Port and the trek over the border an onwards for the last MONTH into St Jacques.

Anyway, putting two words together, especially in ways that make sense, in ways one might want to read, is harder to do at the end of the day when each day's trek feels so unknown, and so much can happen.  I have had moments this past five days where I have been tremendously lost, where the city shock of Tours kept me up at night, and yet also there have been some fabulous and unexpected experiences, like going to Mass in Latin sung with Gregorian chants by monks outside Vendome (St Martin).  The field to my left today which suddenly came alive with black crows all taking off, veering into the wind, their dark bodies bluish, the scene recalling that painting by Van Gogh and some latent sadness he must have also felt as they took flight and he could not.  Coming over land that was red, into darker soiled areas, then the wine country of Vouvray and its maisons troglodytes (houses built into the cliffs) to here, another sort of dry, rocky (flint) area where there are again many sunflower and wheat fields, but also fields of fly-covered cows, small coops of geese or chickens.  I cross over the fields in the morning winds and feel the life of everything around me, and language... remains far off, as in a dream perhaps I can return to again once I have rested, once I feel ready to rest.

1 comment:

Michelle Noteboom said...

It sounds like language was not so elusive when you sat to write your blog. Lovely descriptions. You are my hero for doing this. Courage, Chica!