When I was young my parents once took us for a Summer Holiday in France in 1976, I think the place was called Avalon. We were staying at a campsite along a whispering river right next to our tent, a lovely noise when you woke up and listened to it in a tent lit up orange with the morning sun.
My dad drove us there in his old orange Volkswagen bus and my mum and dad took turns in driving so we drove all night long until we arrived there deep in the night. All the way down there I laid in the back on top of the engine, the noise made me fall asleep (it still is like that, I can fall asleep instantly with loud music).
Anyway, we were in France, a country that I didn’t really like because I couldn’t speak the language and it made me feel so forlorn, so lonely. So that holiday I often wandered off on my own as far as I could. I loved getting up really early in the Summer morning when the grass was still wet and the birds still asleep. Lizards were shooting away before your feet and a snail slid over my bare foot.
There was mist waving above the meadows, cows were getting up and wandered to the farmer in the corner of the field to get milked. Lizards were shooting off in front of me, scared and my legs were wet from the dew in the high grass. I walked towards a meadow, stepping up on the wood of the gate to get above the wet grass and the mist to look. Rainbow colours were in the drops on the grass that caught the first rays of the sun, fascinating. The smell of sun flowers already present, a large field of them on my left.
And then, coming to me in waves, there it was! At the far end of the fields was a church in the distance and from there the sweetest music came towards me. I could barely hear it at first but then it got slightly louder. And it was beautiful! High girls voices, singing a heavenly tune, Gregorian music carried by male Bass voices mixed with Altos and Sopranos, and then these boys and girls again! I just didn’t understand, how could I understand (I was only 8), that this music was coming from that church at such an early hour in the morning, the sun only just getting up.
I have never understood why since and nobody could tell me at the time what it was or why and the farmer just shrugged, unable to understand my questions in Dutch. It is a memory that has always stayed with me and by times popped up, giving me a feeling of peace. And I can even picture that meadow and the distant white chapel across at the other side again when I close my eyes.
And then there are these voices again, angel voices.