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  • Betty Girardeau

Backward, Turn Backward, Oh Time In Thy Flight


A year ago today I was boarding a plane and heading to France for a month in this magical place, the Chateau deGudanes. Three years ago this week I was there for the first time. I returned the following year, but in July. The first two years I was a guest. Last year I was there for a month as a volunteer worker. So many memories. This place and the people I have met there have enriched my life in untold ways. It's hard to imagine that this large 18th century building, which had almost been destroyed by time and neglect until bought in 2013 by a couple from Australia, could feel like home. But it does to me. I was supposed to return again in October, as a family guest this time. But that will not happen, thanks to Covid-19. I can close my eyes and almost imagine myself there. But it's not the same. There's true magic there amongst the valleys and mountains of the French Pyrenees. I can't explain it any better than that. It's a bit of a time warp and, while the sun does rise and set just as it does anywhere else, you have a sense that time is standing still. There is a special pace to each day. Even when preparing for guests, there is no feeling of hustle and bustle. There is always time to chat and day dream. There is time to just soak in the surrounding beauty. There are places that I have already been and appreciate the gift of having been able to go to them, yet I feel no special need to go back. There are places still on my bucket list. But this place is where I have to return.

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