I’m an Aquarius. I remember my surprise when I discovered that it’s an air sign, not water. OK, I understand, but I still have a bone-deep attraction to all things Water. I think it’s sensible that small towns and villages in Italy and France often attach their name to the name of the nearby river or stream, as in Marcilhac-sur-Célé, where I visited for three days in mid-September after visiting Johanna in Italy. The Célé is in south-central France, right on the path of the Camino de Santiago, and Brigitte has a house and gîte (guest cottage) just outside Marcilhac. Our mutual friend Steven had said time and again, “You should really visit Brigitte.” So I did.
In the village the Célé is a sweet little stream, wooded on one side and graced with a grassy park on the other; both are mirrored in the clear water. There’s an ancient abbey by the stream, and in a short underpass leading from the stream to the abbey’s street I found this sign. (translated) “The underpass is not a urinal. Respect this historic place. Every person found in flagrante delicto will be subject to confiscation of the flagrant object.” Don’t mess with the river.
The beginning of my stay with Brigitte coincided with the end of a two-week visit from her best friend Sarah, who is from England; they met as teens and have been fast friends ever since. Two amazing women; I hope to stay in touch. Our streams touched briefly; it’s up to me to keep the current going.
The Célé flows into the Lot, which joins the Garonne and flows into the Atlantic. When I took the train to Paris to fly home, my route was along those rivers to their combined destination at Bordeaux. That seemed fitting. I saw all these little rivers become larger, still reflecting everything along their banks, until they disappeared in the city. I don’t want Brigitte and Sarah to disappear.
All the little rivers I know, the Sieve, the Pesa, the Elsa, the Célé and the Russian River at home, all flow into an ocean, all are fed by the rain. I can imagine them gossiping, trading outrages and delights, just as I chatted with two Australian women walking the Camino as I waited for my train in Cahors.
So much divides us, so much connects us. It’s up to us to choose.