Europe by train: Day 3. Caussade, France.
I’ve only been in rural southern France for 3 days but I realized in an instant that these roads are a runners dream. I’ve already explored them for hours, setting out alone down the empty gravel streets to the sound of the birds in the trees and my own rhythmic breathing. The air is crisp, the clean cold of November. It smells like damp grass and, at times, the winds blow in the aroma of snow.
When I talk to my Dad on the phone he laughs and says, “Now, let me guess, France is your favorite place?” It’s true that I’m always gushing over each new country I visit, cartwheeling with infatuation. I can’t help but become overcome with the newness of everywhere I have never been before. Like any great love affair, the electricity of anticipation leaves me giddy.
Oh, how happily I could live for awhile in Southern France with it’s faded gradeaur and regal charm. And I have mentioned the cheese?
So.much.cheese. Which is precisely why this little running routine of mine is absolutely crucial.
Why don’t you come along with me on my run through rural France this morning?
I put my shoes on in the coach house foyer of the French chateau I am staying in.
I walk off of the property and turn down the road towards this cemetery where my run officially begins. When I reach the next cemetery, a few miles down the road, I’ll know to turn around. I call it my graveyard-to-graveyard run.
The road is empty and stretches into the countryside for miles.
I run past working farms and the occasional rural home, their shutters opened like a smile to let in the dim morning light.
I reach a fork in the road.
I can turn left, up a hill.
Or right, around an unknown bend.
I choose to turn left, though tomorrow I will certainly go the other way.
The road winds upward. I pass these beautiful white horses who seem confused by this panting two-legged creature running by.
And I run past this barking dog who tries his best to be threatening. I don’t think he sees many strangers.
Before I know it, I’ve reached the next cemetery.
It’s time for me to turn around.
I always like the heading back part the most.
So off I go again, down the hill this time, my head swiveling to the left and right in order to take in the pastoral views around me.
I hope that I will always find joy in the anticipation of finding out what lies beyond the next turn in the road.
Soon, the chateau comes into view, a looming presence high on the hill.
And just a few minutes later I am back at the coach house, the lovely blue doors beckoning me back inside.
Where I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon making soup, drinking wine, and sitting around the fire with friends.
And, of course, indulging in dessert (it’s another reason I run!).
Thanks for coming on my morning run with me.
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