Towards Nature -- Part Two
I went through the gate, to the Sanctuary; the cave where "la Signora" had first appeared to Bernadette was lit dimly, a statue of the Madonna was there to commemorate the apparition. High up, on the rock that harboured the cave, rose the impressive cathedral, whose front was covered in golden and pastel coloured mosaics.
I entered and tried to summon some sense of solemnity and awe, but it wasn't happening: I was cold and indifferent. I then meandered through the Cross stations along the river, but my frame of mind was far from devotional. I was no pilgrim. I had been an atheist, for as long as I could remember. The tall oaks and chestnut trees caught my eye, in spite of their relative austerity.
Bored, I decided to go back to the hotel and only stopped at a boulangerie, where I tasted a delicious almond tart. Definitely the best moment of the day. I wondered what I was to write about such a small sleepy place. However, I was glad that it was lonely and forlorn at this time: it suited my mood well.
The morning after, I had a continental breakfast and left. I decided to explore the upper side of the village, where the locals lived.
I was pleased to discover the market square bustling with activity and housewives buying groceries. I visited the Municipe and bought a pocket guide of the area. It was a dainty village indeed, yet I still did not have a clue what I should be writing about. Would my commissioner be interested in ordinary winter life, or in the outlook of the Sanctuary in winter? I phoned my friend hoping for some kind of clarification.
It was up to me, he said, I just had to find some aspect that took my fancy. What an elusive reply! This time having a choice made me uneasy.
When I went back to my room, I jotted down a few impressions, but I was perplexed. I did not even remember the name of the magazine. I was almost regretting my commission, when I decided to experience the cable railway to the mountains that loomed over the village and see whether a change of perspective would help me craft my piece.
TO BE CONTINUED...