Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Tiny guy was a small figure on the top of a column in the cloister of Saint Martin du Canigou. That's a abbey in the French Pyrenees.
You drive drive drive up a tortuously winding road. Then you park your car in a grassy field (on a slope I should add). Then you walk walk walk up the rest of the winding road. Oh yes, you’re supposed to be respectfully quiet while you are walking. I was quiet alright; I couldn’t have talked if I wanted to, what with the altitude and the steep uphill grade. I hope that panting was ok.
Then you arrive at the abbey but Voila! It’s French lunchtime. The guy who sells tickets closes the window in your face. You wait. There is nothing for you to eat or drink. Instead, you watch the ticket man eat and drink. Is this some kind of penance?Finally, lunch is over. You buy a ticket. But first you must watch a grainy video of the restoring of Canigou. It’s in French and it’s very long...in a hot and windowless room. You fantasize about doing the ugly American thing but keep your mouth shut. You have come so far. Finally a totally disinterested woman in a house dress leads your group around the monastery at lightening speed. She talks as she walks....in French. You dawdle and take photos of the spectacular capitols. Somewhere, in another part of the monastery, the monks are chanting there after-lunch hymns. That’s the best part. And looking over the misty mountains. And tiny guy. Who is he, what is he and what is he trying to say? A thousand years ago, some medieval person created him.