France was full of simple pleasures for me. It was just what I needed at the time. In a place that held no memories, it gave me hope for the future and healing from the past. It was a gift of peace. Vitzeray is a bird sanctuary, full of pelicans and sea birds on its flat marshes. I had hoped we would be able to go there and had made a note in my diary of the name, as I researched the area on the internet before leaving home. Now here we were. And healing came a step closer…
All is well
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
Vitzeray. The name has been written in my diary for weeks, and now I am here. Vitzeray. Long white paths of chalk, carefully tended, draw the eye and invite the heart to explore. On the seashore, wooden piers, high above the surface of the gentle waves, stretch out into deep water, each with its fishing net suspended from the end. One family was fishing, the net submerged and they shared ‘le pique-nique’ while they waited for their net to fill.
Turning away from the shore of the estuary, we followed one of the inviting paths. It was very hot, the middle of the day, and there was not a great deal of bird life moving. Donkeys and sheep enjoyed the grass that thrived on this fertile marsh land; swans sailed regally in the distance, and one tiny island was covered in white seabirds, too distant to identify.
The wind blew a chorus through the reed beds and a bright canary flew off in alarm as we approached, its vivid yellow plumage contrasting with deep blue sky and water and vibrant green reeds. A trio of raptors soared overhead, against the light so we were unable to identify them, but the wingspan indicated their large size. They were in no hurry and scarcely moved as they dipped and rose and wove their way through the thermals.
Families picnicked under the trees, people puttered about on boats, groups were fishing in the pools, folk strode out energetically along the chalk paths, whilst others strolled like us, enjoying the peace.
Vitrezay. A sunny afternoon in France – and all is well with my soul.