In a time of unexpected encounters

A time of unexpected encounters  ! This last week of February was for me the opportunity to take a few days of vacation with my wife. I discovered with pleasure the wonders of the Bassin d'Arcachon. On Wednesday, we went by foot under the pines to Cap Ferret, with its charming little fishing villages. Narrow alleys criss-crossed between the wooden oyster huts. One guesses in the distance the dune of Pyla, or, further north, L'île aux oiseaux, a wild space with its Tchanquées chalets built on stilts. 

We take our time. We stroll without wearing a mask in the village of l'Herbe, almost deserted. A last detour to visit the chapel of the Algerian villa and its Moorish style, its wild and solitary exposure facing the sea. The luminous sky and its splendid calm make us forget the difficult times we are going through.


The afternoon drags on, regardless of the curfew. It is necessary to be back before 6 pm. The era of the Covid abruptly brings us back to reality: eight kilometers before taking again the road and to return then to our house in the middle of the countryside. We are on foot. Mission impossible? Not so sure... Because then comes to us the idea of hitch-hiking, the car-sharing of the 80's, a 100% providence version. So here we are on the side of the road, hitchhiking, stretching out our thumbs as we did when we were 20 years old. 30 seconds of waiting... and a vehicle stops to pick us up. Unbelievable!     

Its driver, Véronique, dressed in a windsurfing type wetsuit, takes us in her Van after having cleared the seats so that we can sit down. Without a second to lose, we get acquainted with our driver. Véronique talks to us about Cap Ferret, and especially about her professional activity: instructor of longe côte. What is the longe-côte? A sporting activity which consists in walking with the body half immersed in the sea. Véronique answers in all simplicity to our questions of novice concerning this sport which, more and more, gathers caterpillars of six to eight people who walk along the beaches. "In a few months, I've built up concrete abs," Véronique simply admits. We start dreaming of one day participating in a session of longe-côte with Véronique. We laugh at the moment of leaving her blue Van before going back on our roads. Not only did she stop but she filled the few minutes of our trip together with her warm presence. There was truly a sharing of the present. We are all warmed by these moments of closeness and free kindness. It is a beautiful lesson in life. 

The beautiful encounters that we can make in the Covid era, on vacation or at work, in the coming spring sunshine, are not lacking! It is up to us to invite these unpredictable encounters on our paths, it is up to us to provoke them.