Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Path to Morges - Part 2

The first part of my journey is downhill, towards the village of Etoy. This feeling of assisted movement, assisted by the downward slope towards the lakeside, supports the delightful illusion that I am going somewhere, I am doing something, even though it's clear I'm doing very little and much less than I will do later, puffing and pedalling up the hill. Nevertheless, gradient is a powerful creator of illusion and as I speed downhill, the air rushing past me donates a joyous lightness, a magical sensation of near-flight, a feathery experience, where it is clear that air is a very solid and muscular medium which if we could only see it, contains eddies and whirlpools, curves and plumes and fantastic spiral and torus patterns.

We can see these only in the visible forms caught up in the air's playful game – like the dried leaves in the yard which suddenly swirl into patterns, with some of them rising upwards, still circling, forming a cone, with one or two escaping out of the top of the cone, then drifting like birds, floating, moving neither up nor down, before slipping downwards, the animating hand in the glove that spun them round, abruptly withdrawn.

Swept on and almost upwards by this illusion I follow a road to St Prex then explore a path that soon leads away from the road. First it runs parallel to the motorway, close enough to hear the traffic and glimpse the flashing vehicles from time to time. Then the trail turns off and twists among vineyards with clumps of tender green and purple grapes nestling modestly between the wide and flashy fingers of the leaves. All the rows of vines are trimmed to a precise height, so that they look like thin lanes of topiary, pale green and lustrous corn-rows, immaculately braided. Some of them have rose-bushes at the end of rows, like guardian or stopping posts, with flashes of pink and yellow blooms.

I follow this unknown trail as it skirts a river then sidles round a mansion, with outhouses. An invisible dog barks. A few kilometres and turnings later the path passes underneath a railway bridge, then comes out onto a main road. I cross the road and only about 200 metres further on, there's the sign saying vin et fruits à vendre.

I know exactly where I am now, know I can slip off the road and follow a path that winds through the wood beside the lake, whose waves splash rhythmically against the shore. I feel triumphant. I've avoided the small towns of Bouchillon and St Prex, avoided the main road almost entirely, shortened the journey and made it much more pleasant, riding through the fields and woods and the feeling of success is as heady as the scented air. I am one of the topmost leaves, swirled upwards by the wind, wafted in scents of roses, pine resin and lake water.

The track continues through the woods then passes near the parking area on the outskirts of Morges, finally going through a park where a river sidles towards the lake and ducks sail, like squat brown unhurried leaves. Pedestrian bridges cross the river and there are paths and grassy areas, trimmed bushes and swept walkways and a tranquil atmosphere. The lane continues beside the castle and so we enter the town of Morges.

No comments: