Europe N to S: Turquoise (2/4/17)

Today’s Miles: 23.4
Total Miles: 4,117.9

Vendargues, France – February 4, 2017

“Monsieur.”

“Monsieur.”

“Monsieur.”

I don’t notice the woman at first. I am walking down a street and her words blend into the background. Why would anyone be talking to me? I look up and see her waiving behind a wrought iron fence.

“Monsieur.”

She is talking to me. Her turquoise head scarf is brilliant against the grey of the day. She holds up a white bag and pull a small loaf of bread from inside.

“Monsieur,” she says. “For you.”

I look at her and take a few confused steps to the fence. She lifts the bag over the top and I reach up to take it. Inside, I see a dozen sticks of bread, green olives baked into the dough.

She smiles and I smile back. Her face is as bright as the turquoise fabric wrapped around it, glowing in the grey of the day. Before I can say anything more than thank you, she turns and disappears, leaving me to wonder about it all.

What just happened? Why? I stand confused for a few moments, then slip off my pack to stash the bag away. It doesn’t matter. It just is. 

I eat the bread throughout the day, a piece here and there as grey clouds roll overhead, as the sky breaks and solidifies again, as mud sticks to my boots. Every time I pull another piece out and taste the olives, I think if her smile, the turquoise fabric of her hijab, the kindness of a stranger, and how the dark sky is not as dark as it looks.

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9 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Turquoise (2/4/17)

  1. Another wonderful lesson of not needing to look up to see angels. They are often in front of you if you look. And I hear that the calling card for many angels is simply a smile.

  2. Just noticed you went over 4,000 miles! That is more than the combined Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail mileage.
    Amazing.

  3. Beautifully told, made my heart smile!!! Thanks, great way to start the day, reading your wonderful writing!

  4. Enjoying this new adventure after the kayak trips. Bread and chocolate seem to be reccurring themes for some reason…

  5. Beautiful! I think you could teach the US media an important lesson or two – that there is beauty everywhere, even amongst pain. Maybe stories of kindness can sell too alongside stories of struggle.

  6. Well, you did it again! I am sitting here with tears welling up in my eyes. You sure can write a good short story! The “hijab” at the end was a zinger…makes for multiple layers. Makes one wonder what her personal experience has been of being hungry, a stranger in a foreign country, still connected to those things that matter.

    So now we know that angels also wear hijabs…

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