The Great Plains
In March on Brussels on 13 September 2011 at 23:07
Day 50 of the March on Brussels. From Orléans, 38 km.
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.
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.
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.