Time to say Au revoir (good-bye) and Merci beaucoup (thank you very much)but first let me tell you…
What I liked about Southern France.
the equestrian trails
the food and tiny cups of strong coffee
the cheek kisses
the small farms with beautiful brown cattle resting on green grass
the slower pace
it’s ancient history
no trash on the roads or streets
the gentle rolling green landscape
all the castles
church bells 3 times a day
farmer’s markets all year!
I had originally planned on staying a few more weeks in France but plans changed. Jeannie Grace is taking care of my horses in Nebraska, she FB a couple of days ago…”Your horses miss you.” that was enough. Two months was a bit ambitious. Five weeks, Perfect.
Lynx and I rode very well together. I knew we would. As I told her she may not be the most experienced horsewoman I have ever met but she knew what she was doing and took safety seriously. Her tall spotted horse Karma also did very well. I don’t remember ever having laughed as much as I did with Lynx on our ride.
Return? I very much hope so. (I must also learn more French) How much easier a return trip will be. I have learned a great deal about traveling in France . Herbert Backhaus is German and has peeked my interest in learning more about my German ancestry which came from Hanover, Germany. That would be a must when I return next year. Another ride through France? I do hope so.
First let me thank Lynx Vilden for instigating this journey. For reaching out, snapping a lead rope onto my halter and leading me across the ocean. She is a brave one that one is. We have known each other for nearly 25 years and have enormous respect for each others life work and passions. You can follow her as the navigates the world teaching her Living Wild Workshops at www.lynxvilden.com
Secondly I must, from the bottom of my heart thank Herbert Backhaus and his lovely wife Isabelle at Ferme de Fonluc fonluc.com/contact for their generous slice of hospitality. Herbert does not normally lease horses but with my connection with Lynx and my reputation as a long rider he trusted me and allowed me to take one of his finest horses on a ride. I can’t imagine having taken a better steadfast horse. Ferme de Fonluc also provided me with accommodations in a small “Thoreau cabin” deep in the woods, which quickly felt like home. From my cabin veranda I could see prehistoric rock cliffs and caves across the Les Eyzies river. Rock cliffs and caves where once, 30,000 years ago, people lived and thrived. Herbert and Isabelle also have a lovely guest cottage they rent here at Ferme de Fonluc.
I must also thank Tuckers Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply for getting me and my gear over to France.
My gratitude goes out to the private assistance that came from Burton Robson, “Ann,onymous” and Melisia Deaver Riverea. Thank you Jimmy Prior owner of Sunbody Hat who kindly sent Herbert a hat. To Cashel Company for the fly-protection which we so badly needed. And to Source Micro- nutrients, for added nutrition on this trip, I never ride without it.
Les Eyzies, France
With the invention of graphic communication came for the first time for a message to be transmitted and preserved beyond a single moment in place and time, “Walla” as the French say. Over 350 ice age rock art sites have been found across the European continent. I just happen to land in one the most productive and celebrated areas.
It will take months digesting and sifting through my thoughts after making this trip to Southern France. From Lynx’s stone age workshops to Ferme de Fonluc’s spotted chevals to the et la Grotto prehistoric and la Femme figures, my heart has journeyed places it could never have imagined before.
The timelessness of this area transcends countries, politics, borders and culture. One is left with one thought.. that life is immense, simply immense.
Lynx Vilden’s Living Wild Workshop (one week) isnow underway. I attended the evening circle last night and the night before. How quickly they have bonded into a small tribe. I had wanted of course to take more photos but it all seemed to private to invasive to be there with a camera snapping photos. Lynx’s entirely in skins, bone knife, bone belt buckle leading the class in spoon and bowl making. Using stone age methods with out carving a single thing but by using fire, charcoal and flint. They will learn among other things to gather wild foods, make fire with flint, skin and use hide of sheep and of course share with the use of a talking stick, their stories. They sleep in caves, eat and prepare simple meals together and already in the 3 days they have been here I feel the circle closed to outsiders. Lynx told me this would happen. I won’t attend any more circles but will see them on their last day here at Ferme de Fon Luc. Those attending are from France, Belgium, America, Germany, Holland and South Africa. Ages vary from a 11 to perhaps a 50 year old. I was by far the oldest in the circle last night. I have thought about them out there living so raw and wild and perhaps that is it. The time travel thing again. The world they have stepped into is so ancient, so quiet, so close in relation to one another. There are no distractions only what is right smack in front of them, the sound, smell and touch. I know why they are there, I know why this life of immediacy so attracts them for I am also attracted to it. I have for years submerge myself in it as they are now. I find the enthusiasm these young people exhibit encouraging. They too look for a simpler life creating a world that uses less rather than more and more.