7 January 2000
Le Temps Brumeaux
Being in the mountains this time of year means more fog, clouds, mist. When we drive to Limoux on a cloudy morning and pass through the gorges after Alet-les-Bains, the sky ahead will be clear, or just a few thin, high streaks of white, giving the sky a marbled look. The land is rolling down to the river—the higher ridges are not high enough to hold the clouds. The roadsides and fields are still a little damp from early morning drizzle.
Here, in the Haute Vallée de l’Aude, the sky is “heavy” in the morning. A drizzle off and on and the air is moist and clings to the skin. It feels colder than it really is.
From our vantage here on the southern slope of Mont Sec, we can see up and down the Aude valley, from Pech Cardou to the east all the way up to the mountains that encircle Quillan to the west. In the crevices are low, misty clouds that lie close to the river—the upper peaks appear almost to be floating like dark blue-purple ships on a pale gray foam.
Wispy clouds twine around Pech Cardou—the chateau at Coustaussa is barely visible, a ruin wearing a shawl of smoke.
We take a walk at midday. The sun has reached its high point in the southern sky over Rennes-le-Chateau, and its pale illumination remains blocked by the layers of heavy clouds. This is the brightest moment of the day.
We walk the cemetery-Antugnac Road circle. Later, the mist-cloud fills the valley. Rennes and the hills vanish. Then a break in the cloud and there is Rennes, visible through the mist, like a legend floating in the clouds.
Journal © R Young