La chapelle caché
May 13, 2012
The Carte de Randonée 2644 OT shows the symbol for a chapel on Mont Cèze. Mont Cèze, a holm oak landscape, is directly opposite this retreat – it’s the main view from the terrace – so today’s light breeze meant a good day for a short climb. It’s only 270m altitude and so a 60m change in level gently winding around the mountain – south west slopes are vine clad and north east are all holm oak and arbutus with some sweet chestnut, and decorative shrub edge – on tracks of loose schist. Erica arborea, Cytisus, Genista and pink and white cistus are still in flower frothing over into the light made from the clearings.
Signs of Roman villas were found on the mountain and the surroundings, in this area of Languedoc. First sign of the little chapel is quite charming . . .
. . . at only about 8m x 4m, the modest chapel . . . .
. . empty and with a little restoration but open to all who visit. The view to the south and Murviel-les-Beziers far in the distance. Slippery descent down the south easterly aspect on the fragmented stone curves past banks packed with the colourful native plants quite zingy in tone . . .
. . . and down around the feet equally colourful with yellow horned poppy and more ‘wild’ textured scabious, centaura and eryngium thrust up through schist layer . . . . .
Figs are fully leafed up and iris still provide wonderful spreads of strong colour . . .
. . . and appreciate the organic knobbly trunk of the ash in the linear landscape of vines but cast my mind back to the chapel hidden completely from view.
Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths–and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.