If you read my blog post on Inspiration a few weeks back, you might think that I have been inspired to lock myself away in my art studio to produce some amazing artwork. But, actually, I have been away on a biking trip in Provence. First, let me clear the air in case you were wondering if I biked. YES!!!! I got back on the bike after a six month hiatus (hip problems are such an aging thing!) and was thrilled to experience the beauty of Provence on a bicycle.
Provence is known for its sunshine, bright blue skies and clear air. These are the features that attracted the Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists to the South of France. What could be more perfect for a back roads biking experience? What we didn’t know until the first day of biking was that for a few days in the spring a strong wind called “Le Mistral” blows at speeds of up to ninety hours per hour! So on our first day of biking we experienced first-hand the effects of the mistral!
As I clung for dear life to my trusty road bike (built for speed not safety), I vividly remembered seeing the name “Mistral” printed in bold letters on the side of a friend’s wind surfer. It had never occurred to me that Mistral was anything more than a brand name. A new word for my vocabulary! Mistral means wind. Needless to say my hands and wrists were sore from clenching the handle bars in an effort to counter balance the effect of the rushing winds. And as quickly as they blew in, the next day le Mistral blew out! Whew! Back to enjoying the scenery of green fields, red poppies and light-washed, ancient, stone-clad architecture built into the surrounding hillside. (Actually they were more mountainous than hilly.) Truly inspiring!!!
A few things I learned from biking in Provence:
- You always want the wind on your back!
- Expect the unexpected.
- For every downhill there is an uphill!
- Keep your head up! Or as the French say, “Attention!!”
- You only cross this path once, so enjoy the weather, scenery, people, food, and wine wherever you are, because you never know when the winds of change will blow!
It’s a beautiful day today! Got to go, my bike awaits!
p.s. June is Bike Month, so get out and see the beauty of spring as it blossoms everywhere! And safe riding!
Image by eschige from flickr