zondag 22 september 2013

Day 39. Walking with Anton Tellegen

Last breakfast with a mountain

First stop in Châteauneuf-le-Rouge where there is a line in front of a shop on the village square. I approach and see a shop window with the most amazing cakes and pastries. Yesterday was my birthday. I didn't eat any birthday cake. And more important: today I am walking with Toon Tellegen's father, Anton Tellegen. It is his birthday, and I don't know anybody who is more keen on cakes than Toon is.
The moment I sit down, sip my coffee, take a bite, open my computer, an e-mail arrives. It is Toon. He must have smelled the chocolate cake.

I asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me about his father. He writes that his father was a kind man.

I walk on. Walking with a dead man sometimes makes more sense than symbolically walking with somebody who is alive. You know that that person is somewhere else really. But the dead person isn't anywhere, so he can just as well be there with you.

I like spending time with kind people.

I thought the walking would be difficult today because the map showed big roads but the map is only a map and it didn't show how empty the roads are, how much space there is for the walker. It is an eerie landscape, now and then I look back and see the mountain range I walked through yesterday. Table mountains. I think of Cape Town, South Africa.

Sometimes you encounter strange things on the road. I bump into a black panter, lying on top of a pile of shoes. The panter is harmless, the shoes are old. There is a lot of rubbish aside the road anyway. It always makes me sad.

After les Michels it is forest again. Breathing space. I walk until I arrive at the Vallon de l'Homme Mort, the Valley of the Dead Man. I walk through it and at the other side I see the last mountain range I have to cross. It sounds cliché but I think about the promised land. It looks like it. Maybe it is the light, maybe it is the 40 days, maybe it is the name of this Valley. Anyway. Almost there. I feel happy. I feel sad. I try to stay in the almost.

The last night out on my own. I want to sleep in the wild. I find the perfect spot on a hill under an olive tree. The sun sets, I eat the leftovers from yesterdays birthday diner, pizza with eggplant, parmigiano and herbs, red wine, fresh figs from the trees around the corner.

At night I wake up because I hear something, someone, stumbling around in the bushes next to my tent. I know the smallest animals usually make the biggest sound but it does feel like a creature with a reasonable size. In the night I am not afraid of animals, only of human beings. A snoring sound. It is only a wild pig. I fall asleep again.

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