Recently, I passed through the Estérel region to spend a bit of time at Hôtel Les Roches Rouges on the French Riviera, mainly to work on the forthcoming 3rd Vol. of Au Courant, but also to run away from London for a bit.
It's been maddening, this London place.
And extremely troubling, what with the baffling results of a largely ineffective General Elections, the frequent terrorist attacks on Londoners and tourists, and most egregiously, the blatant negligence that resulted in the death by fire of (undoubtedly) hundreds of residents of the Grenfell tower. Considering the masses fortunate enough to have escaped the burning building - only to be faced with extreme disenfranchisement - is a horrid mental process.
Worse yet, is the lack of clear accountability in the wake of the disaster.
These things have been weighing heavily on my mind; bearing down on my heart. What can one do, when a vote seems useless in effecting change? When innocent people are slaughtered through extremism? When people can be reduced to ash as they sleep in their beds, in a shoddy building that sits in what is supposed to be one of the most advanced cities of the Western world?
If one can, one makes a brief escape.
Aside Les Roches Rouges' natural seawater pool
I needed a space to think, to sit in silence, to count my blessings, and consider if I was indeed doing enough. Was there, perhaps, a more salient and meaningful way I could address such matters in my work without merely being another shouting voice made hoarse in the wind? Or without twisting my output into an echo chamber of uncouth, raw sensationalism? The rolling waves of the Côte d’Azur seemed to say, "first you rest, you think, then you act."
And so, I lay there for hours, staring blankly at the expanse of blue.
Occasionally I wrote, and read, and planned. But ultimately, I did nothing. I closed my eyes, and reclined into myself. The collective mutterings in heavily accented French helped, like a somewhat inaudible chant, lulling me into an afternoon stupor under a sun which blinded my eyes, and obliterated everything in its reach.
What the sun could not touch, was duly bathed in a warm, amber glow, and cooled by a salty breeze. I ate of the region; a catch of the day delivered by local fishermen, proud of their haul and the vital importance of their trade. The juice from wild, ripe tomatoes grown on neighbouring vines ran down my lips. I let my fingers trace the patterns of terra cotta pottery crafted by the Riviera's craftsmen. I drank of their water, tasted their beer, and reveled in their sense of simplicity and purpose.
Each of us pilgrims to the coast sought sanctuary in the sea, its salted waters washing away the detritus of lives lived far from shore. Later, for the first night in ages, I slept deeply with nothing more than the sound of waves filing my mind.
Then I woke up. Rejuvenated, and ready to go.
What the sun could not touch, was duly bathed in a warm, amber glow, and cooled by a salty breeze...
On Escapism - Les Roches Rouges
Words & Images | Lisa-Marie Harris
In Partnership with Hôtel Les Roches Rouges
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