My Travel Book - August 15 in Brittany - Love Is Blind

This story happened quite a long time ago. Those were times when I was still using my traditional Hasselblad a lot. Hence the square pictures, my Hasselblad being a 6x6 camera.

I am sure it was the 15th of August. How can I be so sure so many years later besides the fact that I always file my pictures?

As you now know if you’ve been reading my blog, Brittany is a seafaring country. Fishermen trawling as far as Newfoundland, seamen sailing around the world, master mariners, privateers even (a very, very long time ago).

In most graveyards in Brittany, you’ll find a special plot with a couple of steles, several ceramic funeral wreaths, nothing fancy though and a cross made of driftwood (from a wreck usually). And then a few very frightening words on the cross: “Sailors lost at sea”. No names usually except on a stele and only if the whole ship was sent to the bottom with its whole crew. Something that still happens nowadays.

France claims to be very secular but most of our public holidays are based on catholic feasts. As is the case with the 15th of August. The day when the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Churches and most Anglicans by the way) celebrates the Assumption of Mary, Mary being Jesus-Christ’s mother who "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (from the official Catholic dogma).

It seems that Brittany is still staunchly Catholic even though Bretons tend to vote massively in favor of the Socialists.

Brittany is very binary, remember?

Well to get back to the subject... Every year in my village which is part rural and part sea-going (another binary feature), there is a big ceremony aimed at commemorating those men dead at sea. The parish priest goes on board of a trawler along with bereaved families. They bring a funeral wreath which they will throw overboard after it has been blessed by the priest.

Sailboats go along too.

Hopefully no accident will happen during the ceremony like the one time, a few years ago when the trawler keeled over when they threw the wreath overboard. The sea was very rough. All those taking part in the ceremony felt like checking on the wreath and rushed towards the same side all together... A couple of people drowned.

The wreath usually floats away and goes with the current and the tide and sea breeze. It ends up on a beach... usually the same one where you find the bodies of drowned persons. Sea currents and winds are very predictable after all.

Well anyway, it is a lovely small beach.

Back to my story. I was taking pictures there. I remember I was on my own.

Popeye and Sweet’ Pea were probably boating not too far away. Those were times when our boat was quite small and I’d get so scared of drowning if it were to capsize which it never did by the way. So from time to time I’d jump overboard and swim back to the beach... to safety. Which really was a stupid thing to do and never failed to upset Popeye.

I really do ramble a lot today, don’t I.

So I was taking pictures when I noticed this wreath bobbing up and down very close to the shore.

I watched it for a moment probably linking it to my fear of boating but I am also pretty sure I enjoyed the sight. Flowers riding the wavelets.

While I was deep in my reverie, one young couple came into my sightline. They were young and obviously very much in love. Maybe they were very much in love because they were so young. Well anyway... They walked straight to the water’s edge, a few feet away from the wreath.

They were so totally absorbed in their budding love that they did not notice the flowers so close to them.

They walked into the water while kissing and hugging and laughing while the wreath was getting closer and closer to the sandy beach.

And then after a short while they walked away. Where they went to, I have no idea.

They just went away.

The wreath finally landed on the sand but by then my negative had come to an end. So you’ll have to take my word for it.

Anyway a wreath bobbing on the sea can turn into a very poetical symbol. Its lying wretchedly on the sand only brings your mind back to wrecks and drowning... At least this is the way I felt at the time if my memory serves me right.

Which brings me to my conclusion at last... Love is blind. It really is.

Postscript: I really should have used this French expression for this story: “Les amoureux sont seuls au monde.” (“Lovers behave as if they are the only ones in the world.”) But I won’t start rambling again...

*Good Night, and Good Luck*