The Road Not Taken

Our walks generally tend to follow one of three routes: the road to the hilltop ruins of Cadenet’s ancient castle, the path into the vineyards near the bed and breakfast down the road, or the trail that leads up behind our neighbors’ house, through a tree-enclosed, forgotten vineyard and finally ending with a tromp through the woods where we attempt (without success) to create a path we will recognize the next time around.

On Sunday the sky was sunny and the temperature was around 65 degrees, so we put on comfortable shoes and set out. On a whim, we started up the path that goes up behind our cherry and olive trees. In the past, we’ve only used that path when walking back from somewhere else and deciding to pick some cherries on the way home. We didn’t think it really went anywhere else – after all, Johann grew up here, and if there were something back there, he would certainly know, right?

How wrong we were. After skirting the backsides of the cherry and olive groves, the path continued downhill and connected to a paved road! The road was lined with perfectly manicured olive trees, well-tended vineyards, ridges of evergreens, views of the Luberon mountains and the kind of houses that are big enough that their owners feel that the house needs a name of its own and has it carved into one of the stone pillars beside the entrance to the driveway.

Imagine our surprise! It was like a little secret garden back there, full of potential picnic spots. We tried to identify them from the road, but figured we’d wait until after hunting season to actually venture past the paved surface. (The hunters around here are permitted by law to hunt on any private property that’s not fenced in, and so far, the list of targets inadvertently acquired this season includes a chicken, a horse, a man on a scooter who came around a corner at the wrong time and an old woman who was in the forest picking mushrooms.)

Our list of resolutions for 2007 now has a new addition: whenever possible, to take the road less traveled by. It does make all the difference.

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