I was surprised when you asked me to take part in “l’Echappée”. It was really a great adventure for the whole team. We found ourselves in the countryside where I grew up and that I love so much.
It reminds me of a little journey that possibly happened not so long ago, near the Bay of Arcachon. I returned to this place filled with childhood memories spent with my cousins and my brother. (Oh my! I remember how much fun we used to have! )
My grandparents had a small fisherman’s hut in a small port. From this small hut, tiles were shipped off and taken to harbors where oyster farmers used to collect their oyster spat. Today the fishermen’s huts are still there, and this small port is still a very wild place.
There is an abundance of reeds as well as tiny evergreen shrubs, an invasive species called cotton plants (false cotton plants / Baccharis) that can be found in North America. This location benefits from the proximity of the Teich Ornithological Park. There are thousands of birds who come to stay. These include: gulls, kingfishers, ducks, swans, herons etc. It’s an area of dense, rich fauna and flora.
The distributaries make their way among the reeds, I say it’s better to be from the area so as not to get lost in the maze of vegetation. The water is calm on the surface like a mirror but below its movement can be powerful as it is influenced by the tide.
I plunged into my memories, back to when I was six years old; I remember those quiet moments, many different scents and the soft light. After a day in the great outdoors running on the sandbanks, I finally sit on a pontoon with my legs dangling over the water. I observe, I admire, I feel, I listen. The wind drops gradually taking with it some cotton plant seeds. They are as light as a feather. They will not stop until they have found an obstacle. I watch them float away as they disappear into the distance. The reeds have finished their dance, the wind will soon fall. It’s almost suffocating. I didn’t find much shade that day. My skin turned brown in the hot sun. My legs, my arms, my face was stained with mud that gave off a familiar scent. After spending the day out in the sun, it was finally facing towards me, showing me pastel pink colors. It won’t be long until the sun sets. A group of seagulls pass by … that’s it there is more wind. All is calm. I don’t know where to look anymore as it’s such a beautiful place. When suddenly, the song of a kingfisher catches my attention, I looked around to see if I could spot him, and there he was, he’d just come out of a grove.
The sun slowly disappears. Believe me during these moments you feel alive.
One last look at the horizon and I see it disappear completely in the distant haze. A thousand scents invade the one who stands motionless, listening to the silence. The night begins, leaving mosquitoes and croaking frogs. I look forward to tomorrow. Growing up I grew further apart from this place, in doing so this allowed me to go back and savor the atmosphere in a different way.
With time I left these calm waters to turn to the ocean that gives me new horizons and new sensations. It reminds me of a place that I once knew … but that’s another story.
– Thanks to Pauline Beugniot for the artworks –