Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tous les clochers de France font entendre un sinistre tocsin.

Four o'clock on a beautiful Friday afternoon. Up here on the ridge a gentle wind is blowing. By government decree all the church bells in France are peeling out the tocsin. A reminder that it's a hundred years, to the hour, since the mobilization notices were put up in front of town halls across the land. 

The older inhabitants gather on the village green to listen. After five minutes the sound stops. Somewhere in the distance a bell continues tolling for three more strikes and then it too ceases. Logical anglo-saxons like to think that time moves in a straight line but here it has a habit of curving back to revisit itself. The old combatants tunelessly but enthusiastically sing the song their grandfathers and fathers sang as they marched off:  . Everyone then adjourns to the Salle des Fetes for a vin d'honneur. Life in deepest,deepest France profonde.


  1. We seem be be gearing up for a month of remembrance ceremonies, too. WWI, the war to END all wars.....

  2. It's nice that the historical memories are not totally patriotic.