The Great Plains

Toury, September 13

Day 50 of the March on Brussels. From Orléans, 38 km.

Comrade Cat

Dear people,

The march from Toulouse has added some much needed fresh blood and positive energy. There’s a good feeling in the group. And so this morning we left the ‘Sarkozy laboratory’ of Orléans triumphantly, and singing. The police has never shown up.

United marches leaving Orléans

We took the right way, and the wrong turn, meaning that today’s leg would be longer than it already was. For us, doing almost forty kilometres is nothing special, but I imagine that our comrades of Toulouse had some difficulty adapting, especially after three days of rest.

By now our group is more or less half French, half Spanish, even though some of the marchers from Toulouse are Spanish as well, ‘refugees’ from the Mediterranean march.

Outside Orléans we encountered a war cemetery. French soldiers who fell during the lightning invasion by Nazi-Germany in 1940. It was incredibly sad to see all the straight lines of identical crosses. We rendered hommage to them, comrade Abdullah left a brief wish in the guest book, “these victims merit a nation that is worthy of their sacrifice. 15M, March on Brussels”.

Near the cemetery we enter the forest over the road. It’s a military training ground. We hear shooting in this distance.

Once we come out of the forest, the countryside has changed. The Loire valley was like a watershed. We are now entering the great plains of Northern France, a sight that is familiar to me. ‘The endless lowlands’, as the poet sings. Every time I see it again after a long time in the South, it impresses me. The space is so enormous, the dome of the heavens is so overwhelming and majestic. It’s like being at sea. But instead of the sails of the ships, you see the clock towers of the villages in the distance.

Image of a French village

Melancholy, sweet melancholy. It’s wonderful. I imagine this land on a cold Christmas eve. I am a traveller, and this is where I was born. Battered by the icy wind I walk across the snow, following the weak lights of the village I left when I was young. I’m looking for the warmth of a fire and human company that feels familiar. I knock on a door, but time has taken its toll. Nobody recognises me anymore. The door closes, the wind howls. I cover myself as best I can with my worn out cape, and I walk on, back to the South, hoping to see another spring.

I wake up from my thoughts, and finally, straight through the fields we reach Toury. The sun is already setting, but there are many things still to be done. We have to decide on the route to Paris, we have to write a comunicado about who we are, and why we are doing this crazy march. But there’s one problem. Electricity. My battery is almost empty. For the first time I fear I cannot send news from the march into the world. We interrupt the assembly. We need someone to take us to the nearest plug-in, late at night, in the French country side.

We end up in the bathroom of the municipal camping, which we clandestinely turn into a communications office. It’s absurd. It makes you realise how dependend we are on electricity. What would happen to our civilization, I think, if one day, for whatever reason, the light goes out.


2 Comments on “The Great Plains”

  1. Dominique C says:

    Je suis désolée, mais ces derniers jours j’étais sans connexion et en vadrouille. Je n’ai pas eu le temps de traduire, mais j’ai sauvegardé les billets et j’essaierai de rattraper mon retard aussi vite que possible.
    I’m sorry, I had no time to translate to french during some days. I will try to catch up for it in the next days

  2. david says:

    hi oscar, you are doing a great work with the blog.

    soy david abrazos masajes vitoria, nos conocimos en la marcha norte hasta madrid.
    me he perdido unos 46 días de la marcha a bruselas, pero mañana mismo hago autostop a paris para reunirme con vosotros. me he cargado de naturaleza y amor universal y nuevas técnicas sanadoras, algo que creo importante para este abrazo europeo y mundial que vamos propiciando, esa nueva humanidad que se irá definiendo. ya he entrenado mi francés!

    os habéis reunido ya con la marchamediterranea?

    un abrazo muy fuerte, agradecido por tus reportajes diarios.

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