Saturday, March 21, 2009

In black and white.

I was going to take the road that leads to the vigne again today, but I keep getting pulled onto another route. It ended leaving the air of a sordid affair, and it continues to de-track my thoughts in a scandalizing sort of way. The curĂ© and his beau, or at least that shot into my head when I saw him look around like an owl as he opened the presbytery door, just before the two of them stepped in. “No after you”.

I thought I was a bird, standing motionless, inconspicuous on the balcony above as they strolled from the car to the door. The beau was unaware, but the curie saw me, and shot me a look. I felt like a sparrow under the gaze of a hungry owl. Something from both our sides registered that the other had been ‘noted’.

It’s too bad, before I saw the padre and his beau I had been thinking of the group of professional folks I saw all gathered together on the side of the road that drops down into the little village of La Salces. It’s a road that has about all you could want in your southern france country road. It’s skinny and smooth and winding, and is surrounded by a patchwork of green. Forests and olive groves and vines cutting their lines among the rolling and rising hills. Coteaux de Larzac is their appellation If you see this road on a map, it’s colored with the mark of ‘scenic route’.

They were all in a pile these out of place characters who seem to pop up anywhere. They are always out of the scenes character, it’s the thing that makes you take notice. They were all young and hip and hyper-professional. Theirs is a profession that has all the attraction of a traveling gypsy circus. When you see them you think how wonderful it would be to run away with them. That is until you do, and then you realize the reality isn’t quite like the dream. Or perhaps their reality is too much like a dream, in the sense it is often chaotic and unsure.

In effect it is what this group fabricates. Dreams that is. They are the creators of illusion and attraction. It’s their business, and it’s most attractive illusion is themselves, as they go about weaving the dreams we will see in the future. Their was about a dozen of them. These expensively outfitted, good looking hipsters standing beside their shiny rented truck just in front of the vines I had put in order the other day.

They were surrounded by all their dream making equipment. The truck had disgorged it’s charge and everyone was demi-busy arranging this or that. Primping is really a better word - there is no real heavy work in this high paid world. I know, I spent a bit of time in their ranks when I was running away in Chicago.

It's a job that is all about primping, ceci, cela. The lights, and reflections, the makeup and cables. In this business the smoke and mirrors are real, and expensive. And everything right from the stars on down is precious. You keep your job with them by being precious too. It’s fun, and easy to do when you know your job is creating someones dream.

They had picked their spot well, though they almost always do. Beautiful settings are part of any good dream. It was a beautiful sunny morning and their backdrop was the freshly ordered black souche in the foreground and the rolling green checkerboard of field and forest behind. In the far distance there was a skyful of extremely calm blue reflecting off the morning sea. An idyllic setting for the pretty girl turning her head from her man, over and over again until she looks like she means it, and the director says ‘that’s a take”.

The vignerons wife saw them to on the road to work too. She was a-gaggle all morning with it. They were filming on her land and it excited her. A real film crew, they were on her property just in front of the vines we had worked two days ago. What if we were there working, she wondered - we were that close to being in a film.

I was happy for her. I felt kind of the same. it was something out of the ordinary and we talked about it all morning, I tried to say that since we had pruned the vines behind them, we were the films ‘greensman’ but my story was lost in translation. It didn’t matter though, I got it.

We could see them across the little valley from where we were working. She noticed when they left around 11:00. She suggested a break just then and I seconded it, so we took a cigarette and watched them break down. From the distance it looked no different from an olive man and his workers loading their truck, and yet she was pulled toward it like the local lass to the swarthy roustabout. Pure attraction. Here, then gone, what’s more romantic than that when you are tied to the land. It was an event I could see fixing itself in her memories like a dreamt image. Not of the heavy tossing and turning kind like the curĂ© and his beau had left, but rather something lighter, quicker. Like a jet fighter cutting between mountains.

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