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Getting Lost in Provence

What started out as a 45-minute round trip walk to see an 800-year-old bridge turned into a three-hour adventure. Karen, Cathy, Rose, and I — all alumni from last year’s retreat — took a few photos of the ancient bridge (not all that exciting after all) and decided to continue down a road that lined the vineyards. Allegedly it would lead us back home.

“Ooh, figs!” I squealed, 15 minutes later. I picked a handful of the wild fruit growing on the road next to a vineyard, not realizing how far off lunch would end up being. I would have picked more.

Our amble netted other delights, like stumbling across a collection of crumbling buildings, which I eagerly photographed.

After that, we encountered three riders on horseback, then laughed at the road apples we followed like breadcrumbs. To where, we didn’t know.

An hour later Cathy said, “we’ve gone much further than where the Bastide was. I think we’re lost.”

We all began giving our opinions on the best course of action, but ultimately decided to keep going forward.

When we hit the highway, Cathy consulted her phone. More discussion. A direction was chosen. Walking ensued. I stopped to pick grapes off of a vine.

“These are the best grapes I’ve ever eaten…while being lost…in Provence!” I said to Rose, and we erupted into giggles. You could laugh or cry, so we chose to not stress about not being sure where we were. It would all work out.

We got more lost. Karen suggested we throw in the towel and call the Bastide to pick us up. Only thing was, we didn’t have much of a clue where we were. As Cathy tried to direct Lynn on the phone to our general location, a wizened old man in a work truck stopped. He was the only person who had.

“Nous sommes perdu,” I told him. He explained that the dirt road we were perched on was private property, but he could take me in the truck to show me where to go, leaving the others behind. Um…no thanks. By then, we had been assured that help was on the way. We thanked him, and he continued on.

Thirty minutes later, no sign of Jenny, our rescue driver. Cathy’s phone rang. It turned out that while Jenny was hunting for us, she ran into another group from our yoga retreat who was also lost. Assuming it was the party she was sent to rescue, she collected them and returned them. Only the did she find out that we were still stranded!

Cathy turned on her phone’s radio app while we waited. It seemed ridiculous to hear Fitz and the Tantrums in the middle of Provence, and yet somehow perfect. I climbed a tree and perched in its V. Karen peeled bark off of a branch, while Rose played with rocks on the road’s shoulder. We were like big kids waiting to be picked up from school.

Finally, the van crested over the hill where we waited, and we cheered. On the drive home, we marveled at how many miles we had gone out of our way. At our late lunch, the four of us busted open a bottle of rosé and toasted:

“To being lost and being found again.”

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