As the skies drizzle upon us and temperatures start to hit sub-zero in our little village of Boursonne, France, the crackling of the fire fills the living room with warmth. The house is slowly warming now on a permanent basis with an average temperature of about 21 degrees. It sounds strange to say it but when the temps are sub-zero even 21 degrees isn’t warm enough sometimes.
A couple of days ago we had our first snowfall for the season and it was simply beautiful. There is something about snow that brings out the inner child in all of us. The fairytale environment it creates and the pure pleasure of staring out the window into the whiteness is all one truly needs. The stark contrast of the winter now shows, with the trees threadbare and the grey skies being the norm, are for me very different.
This is my first winter in three years and my first Northern winter ever. I must say so far it is proving to be everything I have heard them to be and more. The days are cold and the nights are colder. I feel a depth of chill that I have not felt before while I sit and write. For the sixth day this week I am wearing a thermal base layer underneath my regular clothes and I still feel a little cold. Oh my god, the middle of winter is going to be desperate for me I am sure.
While the cold seems to be at the forefront of my mind, I am still motivated to do my training and to spend time on our little climbing wall in the garage. Yesterday Karine and I braved the cold and bouldered for a good couple of hours. We have a heater in the room that provides psychological comfort and that is about all. We wear our beanies and take a thermos of tea up there with us to help stay warm.
Yesterday I was out in the weather, rugged up in my warmest clothes stacking firewood into the back of a truck with my father-in-law Jean-Claude. Whilst it was not too physically demanding, it was good to be moving and doing some work. I must admit that I do like it when I get to do something like that. There is a sense of purpose and satisfaction that it brings and I feel a certain pleasure in this. It helps keep you gracious I think.
We are both very pleased with our simple life here at the moment. We manage to get a lot done each day and spend our time between studying Yoga and French language, training, climbing and cooking various heart warming delights. We even manage to sit and read a little in front of the fire. It is a good life and we often just look up and smile at each other knowingly that right here, right now….It is enough.