I always had the impression that in order to live a really wild, rustic life one needed to stay living in Idaho/Wyoming or head on up to Alaska. Those seemed the logical places to me. Hardly any people, vast empty spaces, and the ability to live simply. I never in my life could have imagined that I would find that in France too.
Granted, there are more people here in my part of the Auvergne than in some areas of Idaho, but these are people who are of the land, the terroir. Many houses are rustic, heated only by woodstoves with very basic plumbing. The people raise their own chickens and cows, have vegetable gardens that are bigger than a McDonald's parking lot, and they don't mind mud. They are natural, discreet, private, and incredibly attached to their region. In many ways, they remind me of the locals back in Idaho. Same ethics, same appreciations, same natural way of being.
Here I am in this country of amazing culture and tradition, surrounded by huge forests and endless trails that wander between the tiny, hidden villages. Here I am living in this place that has a history older than my country and my children, Hubster and I are now a part of it.
Today I made coq-au-vin on my woodstove, took the dogs for a ride through the countryside, waved at the hunters, watched the cows being herded to a new field, and chatted with a couple of locals about the weather.
Who could have guessed that a part of France could be as wild as Idaho?