Gray Twilight

There was a heavy mist and the wind was blowing softly as I left La Reole in the late afternoon. The sun stood behind a billowing stream of low clouds, and the sky was the same dull gray color as the bridge that crossed the river.

I walked through the other side of town, then emerged into fields of corn and wheat. There was a dusky haze from the mist but also from fires nearby. The smell of burnt leaves and wet grass was a eulogy to the passing summer; it was the smell of childhood left behind, of unseen roads and obstacles yet to come.

The road was narrow and I walked toward oncoming traffic, but there was none. After an hour or so, I passed a small village on my right. It was no more than a clutch of stone houses clustered around an ancient stone church. The steeple was black and stood out against the pale gray sky behind it.

Soon night came and the sky turned from gray to a deep violet hue; the stars were obscured behind the clouds, and I saw only a sliver of moon above. I arrived in a village called Pondaurat and walked past a convent which was closed. I crossed an uneven medieval bridge over a small mill pond and left Pondaurat.

Shortly after this the road curved to the right and up a small hill, and near the top I saw a grove of oak trees and a gravel path cutting through. I set my tent beneath the oaks and ate a small melon for dinner, then fell asleep to the quiet rustling of leaves in the wind.

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3 thoughts on “Gray Twilight

  1. Love the simplicity of your post. Sleeping in a tent is a great way to spend the night, but I’ve never just pitched a tent on the side of the road and gone to sleep….

    1. You can thank Hemingway for the stripped down aesthetic; I finished reading A Farewell to Arms a few days ago and his style is so refreshing. Plus it’s really fun to emulate.

      As for the camping, it’s really not that crazy; the towns I use my tent in are tiny and very secluded. And I don’t literally pitch a tent by the side of the road (if I did my parents would kill me before anyone else did!)

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