Near Équilles, France – January 31, 2017
The world extends thirty feet then fades to grey. I know there is a cliff off my left side. I can see it by the light in the fog, the way the shadows disappear as the earth falls away behind the mist. I step carefully to the edge and stare out at nothing.
My eyes strain into the grey. They want to focus on some point, some solid anything, but there is only grey, not a wall, nothing in the distance or close, just grey, all grey, everywhere grey. My head swims a bit with nothing to hold it and I step back, afraid to lose myself over the edge. I know I am high, maybe a thousand feet over the land below, but in the grey the distance feels like it could be infinite.
Or it could be nothing.
I walk along the ridge with the nothing hanging off my left shoulder. Clouds drift around me. The world is quiet. It is all imagination beyond the grey. I notice litle things like my feet on the rocks, the sound of a distant car, the breath in and out of my lungs. I feel like the last person on earth.
As the ridge drops, the wall of grey begins to fade. Shadowy rocks loom upward. The cliff stretches down. A faint expanse of valley swirls in and out below.
Farther down, the grey lifts, becoming a ceiling over my head. The fields and villages exist again. Roads stretch out, trails crisscross fields.
I reunite wirh the Camino and follow it into the crowded streets of Aix-en-Provence. There are stores and restaurants, banks and churches. I lose sight of the cloud-soaked mountains in the twists and turns of the city’s streets. When I emerge again, the mountains are gone, swallowed whole by the clouds, as if they only ever existed in my imagination.