an average morning on the mountain

It is cold this morning in our little village where never nothing seems to happen. It’snowing at a thousand meters and the strong wind brings us some flakes too. I walk my son down to the village square where the school bus will come to pick him up. Our dog follows and goes to the river to drink, run and bathe. Together with the other children and parents we wait for the bus and joke about Carine, who drives the bus everyday, maybe has blown away and no school today. While we wait we see jeeps coming down the mountain with snow on their roofs. We wave the kids off and the baker arrives in his white van, blowing his horn to tell every one he is here. He stops to give me my daily ‘grand complete’, I say I forgot my money. Tomorrow he says and adds a chocolatine for my daughter who stays at home today. Then he goes into the local restaurant to bring the baguettes. Elsa, the little black truffle dog of the 83 year old owner attacks him – like every day. He quickly comes back to the car and says smiling that ‘one day I will kick it!”. Michel the son of the owner – who practically runs the place that hasn’t changed since it opened 59 years ago – arrives. Normally he comes in his blue renault sedan that he parks in front of the restaurant and where his two dogs wait for him all day. Barking at everyone who passes and scratching big holes in the linings out of boredom. Today he is driven by Daniel. A nice guy from the valley who works as a woodsmen and mechanic for people around. Michel asks if I want some dried cep he collected in the woods On my walk back to the house Veronique, the woman who works at the post office, comes running after me. She has mail for me! And she brought her sewing machine for me, as I told her before that I wanted to make something for the dolls at pre-school for christmas. I can keep it for some time she says. I collect the dog at the river and go home with the bread, the mushrooms and the sewing machine. I take the car up the mountain to our neighbours who need some help today. I walk into the big kitchen of the old farm, an open fire is burning and the coffee pot is boiling. Today there is a lot of furniture coming from another house. What started as a holiday house is now their first house, they’ve retired and took on a ‘new career’ as shamans in the tradition of the Peruvian Qero Indians. The house is filled with holy woven blankets, stones, candles, feathers and dried plants. It is truly like entering another world. I help them unload together with Mark, an outdoor instructor who is spending a sabbatical on the mountain, and Daniel, the mechanic. When we clear some junk from the garage into his van he tells me to leave space for the dogs of Michel. He has to pick him up again and bring him home. Apparently Michel had a party somewhere last night, slept with his dogs in the car and broke something so the car is not working now. I wonder what you can break by sleeping in the car… I ask for it two times and then give up. I don’t know if it’s a cultural, language or mechanical gap. I go back home for a Skype appointment and a big eagle flies in front of my car through the mountain. On the way I take our drinking water from the well. An hour later I go to school to pick up my son, Daniel’s van is in front of the restaurant. When I look in I see the two men standing at the bar, having a glass of wine before lunch…. All the children of the school are singing at the market today, with 60 children from 2-11 years old it is a cozy little group. At school we have a talk with my son’s teachers about his French and his homework. It seems he is happy and doing well, we are all proud of him. But then the teacher says; “I was just wondering, why did you come to this place? I mean you have everything in Holland, why would you come here?”…..

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