Thursday, January 14, 2010


The only way to find good weather in the Pays Basque is to live here. Some years Januaries are so warm we regularly eat at the picnic table outside my the little stone cottage. This year, that is not the case. Snow arrived for Christmas, stepping lightly on the very peak of LaRhune, then creeping closer each day. Last weekend the road was closed, a couple feet deep in snow. I don't mind. I have enough wood to keep warm, enough coffee for a fortnight, and my novel in progress demanding attention.

LaRhune sits on the border between Spain and France, my bergerie is on its French flanks. A fifteen minute walk up takes me into Spain via the contraband route. The hike to the top is sometimes forty minutes, sometimes a couple of hours, always magnificent. Pottoks roam the hillside, round-bellied basque ponies left to fend for themselves on the mountain. They grudgingly share the path mornings, when I run.

I have lived here, overlooking the little Basque village of Sare, for over a decade. I have changed over the years, but it has not. LaRhune remains mysterious and engaging, dangerous, compelling. I am happy to share its snow and its destiny.

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