As mesmerising as the Mont is at a distance, and trust me, it is completely entrancing even from afar, Susan and I were eager to head closer to it. So that is where you and I are heading now.
Mont Saint-Michel is currently connected to land via a dry causeway, which is causing all sorts of problems, namely the fact that it is changing Saint-Michel from an island to mainland as silt builds up on one side of the causeway and cannot be washed away by the tides.
The causeway itself is roughly a kilometre long. There are buses that trundle along it every few minutes transporting visitors, but we preferred the walk on the other side of the canal. Getting to know Mont Saint-Michel step by step was an enjoyable process. And it is something else to see it grow steadily in front of you as you get closer and closer; there is certainly more gravitas to it than zipping up in a bus crammed full of tourists smashed up against the windows with camera phones out and the reflected backwash of flash lighting everything up. Although, that is an experience of its own.
Especially on a misty afternoon like this though, with only two other individuals to share the road with and this beautiful and famed abbey rising slowly in front of you, it wasn’t hard to imagine the experience of past pilgrims to this site. Though I think my journey was a drier one.
To state the obvious, France is a land of fairy tales. Walking under the Eiffel Tower. See Mont Saint-Michel rise out of the fog above the tidal plains for the first time. Running your hands along the many rough, ruined stone walls. I am thankful that such places exist. Even more amazing that they were built by people. But I guess when you think about it, in one sense or another, all the best fairy tales are created by people. We create the stories that we make appearances in.
And as a new year starts for me and with it new stories, that I’ll share some moments from this particularly lovely fairy tale of a trip that was momentous and fleeting all at the same time.
Like Dean Moriarty’s ghost I came in quest of secret knowledge
in the winter of my journey to a crumbling Granite college .
I saw three crosses pierce the sky above that distant hill
the sky burned red as I turned my head and I left that scene behind
I took another god to be my guide, the one inside
our destinies entwined