Hours of driving have made me tense with concentration. Unfamiliar roads and tolls flowing through wide expanses of earth and sky, nothing to mark progress except the passing of time.
It’s a pleasant March day but clouds dark with coming rain are gathering up the blue skies behind me.
Suddenly I encounter change, a mosaic of busy roads on the southern side of Chartres and I’m relieved to know half the journey home is behind me.
Once settled I set off to find the cathedral, remembrance of my days spent soaking up the atmosphere of Sarlat Cathedral in the depths of winter restoring energy to my steps. This will be a precious moment of sanctuary to invigorate the hours of driving to come.
I’m very lucky, afternoon sun filters powerfully through the astonishing array of stained glass windows, presenting this mesmerising art in its full glory. Colour drenches the complex and beautiful architecture within, inspiring childlike wonder.
There is a buzz of joy as people sit or stand in blissful silence nourished by the display of beauty in this austere spiritual monument.
Time is held as people respectfully wander the internal maze, a mini pilgrimage as all sense of self gently disperses into this cavernous space.
I exit to greet returning gentle rain and explore charming cobbled streets before finding a tabac to sit quietly and sip coffee, to observe how peaceful it feels to be here, away from all that is familiar or seemingly pressing.