OSTABAT-ASME – SAINT-JEAN-PIED-DE-PORT
But if it sings it’s a good sign
A sign you can sign your name
Then very gently you’ll detach
A feather from the bird
And write your name in a corner of the painting.
In order to meet Emeline, I got up at 4:30 am. Emeline wanted to continue her way to Santiago today and I agreed to meet her around noon. It was totally dark when I left the refuge, with the half moon shining through the fog. My headlamp helped me to see the markers on the way.
OSSERAIN-RIVAREYTE – OSTABAT-ASME
Paint the green leaves too and the wind’s coolness
The dust in the sunlight
The sound of insects, in the grass, in the summer heat
Then wait for the bird to choose to sing
If the bird won’t sing
That’s an adverse sign
A sign that the painting is bad…….
Dense fog covered the village when I left that morning. Shortly after leaving Osserain, I came to an ancient stone marking the border between Béarn and the once independent kingdom of Navarre. With that, I entered the Land of the Basque. The Basque language is very unusual because it does not have any similarities with an Aryan language. Of the seven Basque regions, three are located in France.
ORTHEZ – OSSERAIN-RIVAREYTE
Erase all the bars one by one
Taking care not to touch a feather of the bird
Then paint a picture of the tree
Choosing the loveliest branches
For the bird……..
After a nice breakfast with the other four pilgrims, I left the town and was intrigued by the beauty of the countryside. In the distance, the Pyreneans were already visible. The area was hilly with little villages and many vibrant blooming flowers.
BEYRIES – ORTHEZ
When the bird arrives
If it arrives
Observe the most profound silence
Wait till the bird enters the cage
And when it has
Gently close the door with your brush……
After the strange night in the huge dancing hall with me as the only person sleeping in it, I left Les Landes and entered the region of Pyrénées –Atlantiques with Béarn as the biggest district in it. In this area, the people speak their own language (language d’oc). For a long time, it was forbidden to use this language; now it comes slowly back.
SAINT-SEVER – BEYRIES
Sometimes a bird arrives quickly
But equally it may take many years
Before it chooses to
Don’t be discouraged
Wait many years if needed
The speed or tardiness of its arrival
Has nothing to do
With the success of the picture…..
Country streets with nobody driving or walking on it – huge fields of corn and sunflowers on a completely flat area – houses with the wooden window shutters closed – nobody seemed to live in this place. Today, I had to walk 30 km. The visit of the newly renovated Gothic church Notre Dame in Audignon was a nice change. After four years of renovation, it opened for the first day when I was there.
MONT-DE-MASRAN – SAINT-SEVER
Then set the canvas against a tree
In a garden
In a grove
Or in a forest
Hide behind the tree
When I left the town in the morning, the streets where filled with little booths. There was a market going on in town. People prepared their stands for selling fruit, vegetables, clothing, household goods, electronics……
ROQUEFORT – MONT-DE-MARSAN
First you paint a cage
With it’s door open
For the bird……..
Les Landes with 2.5 million acres of forest was a long stretch for me too to walk through. I started to memorize the last poem I had taken with me, the poem of Jaques Prévert “ To Paint a Picture of a Bird (Poure faire le portrait d’un oiseau).