The English cousin called it a golden thread. The filament that brings them all back each year, to this place, to each other.
They’ve known each other since they were toddlers. Our children, the neighbors from Carbonneau, scattered friends, the English cousins… They’ve been playing Marco Polo in the deep end of the pool since they could swim. Years of kayak rides down the Dordogne, croquet in the afternoons, “Deux-Cent-Un” around the old trees at dusk… Now in their twenties, they bring along girlfriends and boyfriends to play, toasting après-game with a glass of wine on the terrace.
All year long we anticipate this brief burst of youthful summer energy – their joy rediscovering each other, the walks, bike rides, intimate talks, group songfests in the middle of the night, voices carrying over the valley.
And then one day, they vanish. I pick up the pieces of their games and am engulfed in a tide of summer’s end melancholy. No, it’s worse than melancholy, my heart fragments as I note the light has changed, the brilliance of early August becoming the painful, soft light of September.
I permit myself a moment to stop and begrudge the change of season.
They are embossed on my inner landscape, these children who return each year like swallows, with their sacred lists of must-do experiences and traditions…
To this old place of anchors and golden threads.