Sunday, September 16, 2007

La Sabranenque

La Sabranenque volunteer program, Saint Victor La Coste, Provence, France

During these two weeks rocks were my life. I will never look at them the same way again. I searched for rocks. I dug rocks out of the earth. I scavenged for rocks. I carried rocks. I loaded rocks. I unloaded rocks. I hammered rocks. I pounded rocks. I prized the perfect paving stones, carrying the ones I found in my arms like babies--what beauty, what potential. To the end of creating 15 feet of beautiful paved road. Our tools were hammers, pick axes, and shovels. Only. Our materials natural, uncut stones and dirt. Only.
Dirt was also my life over the past two weeks. I worked outside in the dirt every day and was extremely content. I shoveled dirt. I carried dirt. I poured dirt. I kneeled in dirt. I piled dirt. And I was covered in dirt. I scraped my elbows, cut my fingers, hammered my hand, and was sore, sore, sore. I learned new skills. I learned new French swear words from the staff as we all attempted to create "an even surface out of uneven materials."

I walked through the hills. I walked through valleys. I walked through vineyards and small villages. I kayaked under a giant Roman aquaduct and swam in the river. My feet hurt and my muscles were sore. I struggled to understand history recounted to me in French. I visited Roman ruins. I shopped at open air markets. I explored a hermitage in a cliff. I napped. I showered. I showered. I showered. I didn't do laundry.
I ate a lot of delicious meals. I ate a lot of bread and cheese. I was scolded and reminded to use the small spoon instead of my fork for the dessert. I was told not to put the potato dish and the rice dish on my plate at the same time.

I ate more delicious meals. I had fun doing dishes. I socialized. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I drank a lot of wine. I smoked a few hand rolled cigarettes. I stayed up late.

I had a chance to be silent and to hear silence. I had plenty of time.


Shari said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The photos, the prose, and YOU!
Love, Mama

Andrew said...


Thanks for putting this together so quickly. Seeing as how I didn't take any photos at La Sabranenque, this site is how I show people what we did - although folks still can't figure out why I went all that way for such a small wall...

You're a wonderful photographer.


Jeff Weissman, Realtor® / Top Producer said...

Hi honey,
Wow. I am SOOOOO jealous. You are obviously having a marvelous time! It was great to read between the stones, so to speak, & get some details left out of our recent phone conversation. Your photos a fantastic! How are you liking digital? I know you're back in Berlin now...did the trip go smoothly? Say "Hi" to Coleen, stay safe & healthy, stop smoking hand-rolled cigs, keep having fun & thinking random thoughts, and post again soon. I miss you & love you more than words can convey!

Kayla said...

I knew at least one of our parents would comment about the hand rolled cigs...Well, it's so great to hear that you're challenging your body and mind in a bunch of brand new ways! Keep up the blogging! The writtings are touching and the photos are beautiful.

Unknown said...

Marie and I loved your seeing your photos of St Victor la Coste on a bigger screen than you 2.5" digital. I tried to send you our photos on a Kodak share site but must have got your address wrong, since I got a confused response back from a Swedish artist. Ron directed me to your blog, (which he learned about from Andrew) but we haven't heard from anyone else. I guess Jan lost the list of everyone's address. Anyway, if you can let me know your address, I will send you the Kodak link. Hope the rest of your trip is as enjoyable as the first part. You can reach me at

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