Unexpected Weather in the Mediterranean
After a month of northern Indiana severe weather, Jim and I were looking forward to a couple of weeks of vacation in the southern climes of France. We are always pleasantly surprised by the change of temperature, the sunny skies and the mild air. Along the Mediterranean, where the waters are truly turquoise and almond trees flower in February, we have a spot where we can slow down, soak in the sun and live life at a different pace.
This is our fifteenth year in the tiny town of Le Brusc. Our first time here, we were greeted by the remains of a sandstorm up from the coast of Africa. We have seen many kinds of weather and we try to pack accordingly but we know the sun will ultimately come out and greet us. This year, as we arrive in Paris, we can tell that it is cold. We board the TGV (fast speed train) and settle in for a three and a half hour ride to the southern coast. Out the windows, the scenery flies by and, as we near our destination, the sun is shining bright. Since we will be joined by family members in a few days, we choose to rent a car. As we fill out the paperwork at the train station, our attendant suddenly looks out the window and cheers. Large snowflakes are falling! Everyone stops and watches and exclaims. Some of us are more elated than others. For those who live here every day, this snow is a novelty, a curious event, an unusual occurrence. For those of us here for the sun, the wet snow is a surprise, a dent in our plans, a unwanted wrinkle. As we get in our rental car and start to drive, the snow mixes with rain and leaves behind little piles of white here and there.
When we get to our cottage, it is warm and cozy. Our hosts have made sure to turn up the heat. We assume that the sun will come tomorrow as we make ourselves at home, cook and eat our evening meal, close all the shutters and head to bed. But in the morning, the snow is truly falling, covering the blooming daffodils and pansies, weighing down the cypresses and yellow flowering mimosas, silencing the usual cooing doves. The air is icy and the cold alpine wind is blowing hard. I sit and quickly knit myself an ear warmer since I forgot to bring one. After a short walk down the hill to the bakery and grocery, our feet are frozen and our noses have turned to ice. I stop at the knitting store and buy a ski hat. And then, we hunker down in our cottage, making sure all the crevices where air can come in are plugged. We cuddle in blankets, and read, and eat chocolate. Later in the day, since we have a car, we put on layers and we take a trip into the mountains to see a medieval village high on the hill. Light snow falls on the cobblestones as we walk through the tiny streets and out to the ramparts overlooking the valley. Vineyards and cypress trees, all lined up, surround us. The snow carves out the countryside and leaves it under its spell. It’s beautiful and magical! Soon, our feet, complaining from the cold, carry us back to the car. We drive home to our village, skirting the Mediterranean with its still turquoise waters. The warmth of our cottage surrounds us as we walk in. We bundle up and drink some wine and look at the weather forecast. France is being hit by what they are calling “Moscow-Paris”, a cold front coming from northern Siberia. It should move on in a couple of days and the weather here should be back to normal. The following morning, I start to see clear deep blue skies and that sun that is so familiar.
On many of our trips this year, we have encountered unusual weather. It’s a sign of the times; our whole world is slowly warming and extreme weather makes its appearance more frequently. I will keep that in mind as I live my life, changing what I can to try and make a difference.