There are some places that just resonate with us.
And this is one of mine.
Mont St Michel.
I first set eyes on Mont St Michel seventeen years ago, My goodness, seventeen years! So much water has passed under so many bridges, so much has happened, so much that was good, and some that was bad, and some that was downright dreadful. How fortunate we are not to be able to see into our futures, I think.
So, it was 1999 and I was newly single although The Ex had not yet moved out even nine months after deciding that he was done with us, so it was a strange and stressful time and I decided to take The Rags to France for a week's holiday.
Quite brave of me, I think. No, strike that, very brave for one who'd been under the marital thumb for too long. I suppose that it was an act of defiance,since The Ex had never been fond of France, and also of me asserting myself, Added to which France was the place I ran away to. With The Unsuitable Boy. When I was still a teenager.
Plus ça change ....
I've been running away to France quite a lot during my life, and especially during the last ten years.
Anyway, it was 1999 and we had travelled with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Caen. And en route to our rented holiday home in the south of Brittany I thought it would be nice to call in at Mont St Michel for a few hours. And so a love affair was born.
Mont St Michel et moi.
I've lost count of the times I've returned, but there had been an absence of a few years and so last time I was in Brittany I decided to take a detour from St Malo to spend the first day there.
The day was hot. Very hot. 35 degrees according to the thermometer in my car.
And of course it was crowded. So I headed straight for the monastery where, even when there are hundreds of other visitors, it's possible to find a quiet corner.
I do like quiet corners and empty spaces.
I'm quite good at finding them, even when surrounded by other people.
Sometimes they have to be in my head, but that's ok.
On that day in August, when all of France was on holiday and many of them were, it seemed, at Mont St Michel, I sat in the shade of the cloisters and waited patiently for a lull in the tide of people ebbing and flowing past me. And the lull came, and I breathed, inhaled the silence. exhaled the stress.
I carry a great deal of stress. I try hard not to, and sometimes I manage to offload it for a while, when I'm swimming, or walking, or meditating, or practising yoga, but most often it's there, sitting on my shoulders and screaming in my ear.
We all have our demons.
We all have our fears.
We are all just hanging on.
And many of us are trapped.
And the ironic thing is that we often construct the very cages that confine us - past hurts, something sad in our childhood, real and imagined hurts, failures, mistakes, so much emotional baggage. It is so very tiresome. And unnecessary.
Demons and dragons may plague us
Or, we can dismiss them and choose to see the world differently.
Sometimes we have to ignore the ugliness, the cruelty and the pain and just see the good. Even if it means that our vision must, of necessity, be a little distorted.
Because in the beginning and at end, at the alpha and the omega, that's all that matters. How we chose to view the world and our place in it. Goodness but I sound preachy! I don't mean to. Sometimes I use this place as a kind of therapy session while I work through stuff.
I am really fortunate to have spent so much time on Mont St Michel.
And soon I get to go back again.
How good is that?
Who wouldn't feel better in the company of the saint, carer of the sick, a healer and the one who, some believe, travels down from heaven to offer the dying a chance to repent of their sins and to be transported, by him, to heaven?
And that he is also a slayer of dragons and demons is an added bonus.