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.