The sky was a neon tangerine. A sulphurous glow spreading steadily, like cancer, across the horizon; highlighted by hints of peach and tinges of mango. Until it seemed as if a giant had taken a carving knife to it and slashed away, leaving somewhat cooler, violet hues oozing from the wounds. Sad amethystine dribbling melancholically, merging… mixing into the fiery twilight.
There was a fierceness in the air that evening as we descended into the bowl where lies the shabby old town, once the bedrock of the family name.
It had not rained in weeks and a sand storm was brewing, gathering speed thanks to the incessant Mistral. A powdery taste hung in the atmosphere, and the once vibrant colours were beginning to fade into pastels as a thin layer of dust swept upon us. And the night took hold.
We gave up the drive and rested at the nearby inn, taking refuge in a glass of ruby coloured rosé. Not quite cold enough to disguise it’s fruity, sour overtones. It left the back of my throat raspy and sent shivers down my spine.
Come the second gulp however, the drink had lost its notable sharpness, and flowed with ease, gullet-bound like a sugary syrup.
We looked around, slightly hesitant, taking in our familiar surroundings. We were sheltered from the wind now, which made us fair game for any mosquitoes and all other nocturnal flesh-biting insects, while memories from my childhood began to make their way up from the cloudy past. Bubbles bursting as they reached the surface of my semi-consciousness.
This rustic, if uninspiring village had been home to Les Haour(s) for many centuries.
As a little girl, my father had once told me that our ancestors were wolves and that our name originated from the sound of their cry… Their ‘howl’ as they gazed upon a pearlescent moon.
I never doubted this story. I even felt a certain sense of pride in my lupine heritage.
Images of Romus and Remulus dancing in my mind’s eye, it all made perfect sense in a town named Remoulins…
My father was half Haour half Golden.
Incidentally, the ‘golden’ hour, known for its warm iridescent quality at a particular time of day, in a particular part of the world, namely Florence, is often credited for inspiring the Renaissance movement.
… The conception of idealism and perfectionism – The Capturing of religious icons with angelic features and skins of porcelain.
In Provence, however, the light in the late afternoon might be better described as ‘copper’. It has a rustier, rawer quality. And like copper, it tarnishes easily.
In this part of the world, the evening gleam brought forth the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso. Great men afflicted by madness and depression.
Seemingly caught in rapture by the copper radiance, like so many moths on a night’s flame, unable to resist, condemned to burn.
If this town could sing, it would wail to the sound of a thousand minor chords, most likely slightly out of key.
And the band would clang and the beat would stumble.
While my guitar gently weeps.