Climb up a ladder to reach the top floor of Lescure’s old bakery and through the weathered door you observe a most melancholy picture. Dim light through broken windows, mouldering walls and layers of destruction, all slowly being suffocated by ivy. We would have left this loft in its sorry state for years to come if we didn’t need storage space for building materials we’re salvaging from the grounds. Begrudgingly I set out to work my way through this wreckage – some days I just cannot face cleaning up yet another pile of rubble. The dust, the insects, the fungus, the weasel excrement.
To overcome my reluctance for this type of chore, I’ve grown into the habit of approaching it as a form of meditation. Step one, cease all resistance to what is. The pile is there, n’est-ce pas? Two, accept the job at hand without comment. No moaning or cursing, it doesn’t matter if I don’t like the smell of bat droppings. Next, plunge into the activity and forget about time. It isn’t so much about achieving something as it is about simply doing. Et voilà, the pile is gone. Or not, and that’s fine too, because you see, I’m letting go of the ambition to finish things.
Needless to say, I often tumble headlong into these ‘meditations’, only to discover I’m quite unwilling to embrace situations as they are. I go on too long and I end up exhausted and crying on the sodding great pile. But even when I fail at cleaning up the debris that stacks up in my mind, there are always treasures waiting underneath the mess. In the bakery the peeling plaster revealed a beautiful stonewall and a traditional bread oven. Just imagine, a cozy attic room above a bakery and Lescure’s very own fête du pain. How’s that for a dream?