The plunger pressed the course grounds to the bottom of the pitcher, and the liquid rushed above it. The bitterness of the coffee was familiar on my palate in an environment where everything else was entirely foreign. Operating my first French press with blurry eyes was a bit of a challenge, but the coffee was quite good, and I was grateful to have it in such a remote location.
I peered out the window to survey the pastoral setting in a sea of green. From the right side of the window an elderly man slowly entered into view and walked out of sight on the left. Within moments, an elderly woman entered into view from the left and exited to the right. A veritable parade of little old ladies and shuffling, shrunken men soon commenced. They were taking their early-morning walks along the stream bank in the crisp, foggy valley. Some fashioned a brisk aerobic approach, while others preferred a casual stroll with their hands in their pockets. But most simply shuffled, probably the only gait they knew. Some were in pairs and some were alone and most had dog leashes in hand. I could now see the Charolais lounging and grazing or chewing their cud in the pasture beyond. Over the coming days I would enjoy greeting these journeyers from the window or on the street with a big smile and warm “bonjour.”
The home in the hills catered to our leisurely side, and mornings were spent with extra sleep and slow breakfasts. Not only was the house larger and nicer than what the same money would offer in Beaune, but we were free from the pressures and temptations that a city would give. We enjoyed the simple pleasures of our small local community. We munched on our Frosted Flakes, pain au chocolats and some of the peculiar yogurts we picked up from the endless aisle of hundreds of options at the supermarket the night before. Apparently, cheese isn’t the only dairy product the French are passionate about.