Mediterranean snow

Vines in the snow

Vines in the snow

Today, snow has been slathered like sun-cream onto the Mediterranean beaches. In our village, the houses have icicle fangs biting into the wind. The Montagne d’Alaric (600m), the first bastion of the Corbières as they rise out of the plain, sparkles. We can’t go to work because the roads are blocked.

Two days ago, I was in the garden weeding the broad beans, in a tee-shirt.

“In my lifetime,” says Marc, importantly, “I have only seen this much snow three times, and never in March.” Marc is 60 years-old. “It is horrible,” he adds.

9 March 2010: la Montagne d'Alaric, as seen from Camplong d'Aude

9 March 2010: la Montagne d'Alaric, as seen from Camplong d'Aude

I don’t agree. For years I have dreamed of climbing Alaric on snowshoes but there has never been enough snow – normally just a few whispers each winter.

Veronica accompanies me to the bottom of the hill. We walk through vineyards, which have been pruned within an inch of their lives, the souches (vine stems) bristling through the snow. Higher up, the newly unfamiliar path is betrays me several times, the trees bending under the weight of the snow barring the route. I struggle through whipped cream. At the summit, the snow has been peeled off by the wind. I realise that the earth here is deep red, not dusty pink. It is a strange dream.

At the "Pas du loup" above the "Jambon"

At the "Pas du loup" above the "Jambon"

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