Les Eyzies (Dordogne)
Sometimes I’m so busy suffering from the cold — did I mention that since August I’ve been living in a magnificent setting, 100 meters from the river, looking up at limestone/tree-topped mountains dotted with pre-historic caves? — that it’s hard for me to profit from experiences I’ll probably never have the chance to live again. This morning, as I was bringing the green pastis Duval water pitcher out to the terrasse on which I’d decided to lunch (after the morning fog clears and before the afternoon fog sets in, there’s actually strong Sun out there), I saw a little dog circling the clump of brush halfway between me and the river, it’s tail stump vigorously wagging. He was apparently following the back and forth of a creature within, or perhaps containing him until Master arrived. Which he did, rifle balanced loosely on his shoulder, making a slower tour. The farmer across the road was also watching. I went back in to boil the potatoes and endive over which I was going to dump the part of last night’s fondue Savoyard that congealed for my lunch when I heard, yes, the crackle and then the shot. I scurried outside in time to see the middle-aged hunter bend over and pick up something that could have been a ferret, judging from its long body and head. I watched him, silent staring countryman style, as he marched up to the road at a patient pace, the downed animal appearing to be maybe a duck with a glossy black head. We eventually said bonjour, I continued to watch and he asked me, “Would you like to eat gibier today? I give it to you. ” Perhaps it was a courtesy as he’d caught the bird on ‘my’ property. “No merci,” I said with evident amusement. “Mais merci dans tout cas.” I’d actually been dreaming of eating chicken, but I had no idea how I’d remove the feathers and otherwise make the bird ready. The man lowered his head as if to say, your loss, and as he retreated across the road and into the pasture on the other side, right below the train tracks, I realized I could simply propose to the farmer, who keeps chickens, that he remove the feathers and that we then share the bird. So I threw my shoes on, and a jacket, and ran down the road but he was no longer in view. So instead, it’ll be my mashed potatoes and endives mixed with day-old congealed fondue for lunch today.