February, still winter, but under a brilliant, clear blue Provencal sky one is easily fooled into believing that the promise of spring is closer than perhaps it is. As I meandered Lourmarin’s tall, narrow streets, looking up at that deep cornflower sky, winter was momentarily forgotten. Only when in the shadows did the air’s biting chill remind you of the season. I shivered, partly because of the cold but also because of the ‘ghosts’ who seemed to be brushing past me……
If you closed your eyes tight you could almost see all who had passed these stone buildings, scurrying along these very same cobbles. Hurrying by, carrying their purchases, running errands, rushing to appointments, maybe escaping from someone one or dashing eagerly to get to an appointment. Children, skipping, singing, chasing each other, dogs and cats never in any rush, old people, stooped and slow, young lovers holding hands, oblivious to all apart from each other, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, people of all sorts – life.
A few hundred centuries of people disappearing behind the heavy worn doors or opening the shutters to let in the bright early morning light, just as I had done that morning. An atmosphere that makes you tingle with wondering, a sense of history that I wished I could somehow ‘bottle’.
What secrets these buildings could share? Generations of stories, along with today’s living, as people still live, work and play, are born here and die here in life’s never ending cycle.
Homes that literally fill my soul, a sharing of the past. Warm, honeyed, golden stone, shuttered properties, trailing ivy, wisteria bougainvillea or vines on their exterior, bearing the marks of time, rich in character and ambience, not perfect but perfect for me!