Sounds of waves crashing onto rocks, birds and church bells are the prevailing sounds in my garden. It is in France, in a medieval village, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the ancient salt marshes of Guerande. It is my home.
My father was English with some German and Welsh ancestry. My mother is part Scottish, Italian and Irish. My wife is French. I am cosmopolitan in blood and thought, so Batz-sur-Mer is an easy place to live.
Wandering along the rocky coast path can be a peaceful stroll in blue sunlight reflected off a sparkling sea, or a roller coaster ride buffeted by relentless wind and faux precipitation of spume flicked from the plunging plumes of the white horses of the sea.
Harsh sunlight beats down on the limpid pools of the small salt pools dragging the harvest to the surface by evaporation. On coarse paths networked through the marshes, peaceful workers seemingly sweep the salt from the top of the mirror still water. Snow-like piles of salt wait for the collection and journey to the global market hungry for a rich product eco-friendly since the dawn of time. The only distraction in this haven of peace is the plethora of birdlife from simple sparrows to wonderful waders.
On convoluted paths overgrown with grasses, brambles, and hips, the next turn may open to a small field of donkeys, goats, sheep, horses and notably now . . . a llama. An old stone windmill sails floating round in a leisurely spin grinds flour as it has always done; albeit now for the tourist.
In narrow cobbled alleyways I am drawn inexorably by the scent of fresh baked crusty bread. It is a rare day if the still-hot bake gets home without a crust torn impatiently from the end protruding from the paper wrap and eaten in childish glee.
Fisherman chug in and out of the tiny harbor. Their daily commute is not a race; there is plenty for all in these bountiful seas. That is all there is, but it is far too much to absorb in just one lifetime.