Teaching yoga in Saint Antonin has so far been a blessing. It’s informal at best as we laugh our way through some sequences, dirty our feet by the bonfire’s ash, sit on our mats in the open air after to drink orange juice and coffee, and dive off the dock to wash the sweat from our clothes in fresh river water.
The pace is slow because I mirror most movements when I notice acquainted eyes peeking up at me from French folk who’ve come to support independent of their understanding, and knowing that the capacity to digest new dialect is beyond a one- hour session. I think our growing group comes to gather more as a source of community and camaraderie than exercise, or so I assume if my intuition hasn’t snuck too far from me in a foreign land.
In exchange I’ve received free French lessons, loom lessons, piles of farm fresh fruit, art supplies, money for food and rent, and above all the invaluable time spent getting know neighbors and facilitating the introduction of others, as everyone lives but 5 minutes walking from one another.
Sprawling my supplies across one table or another and draping my dripping suit from the arm of any chair unclaimed, I’ve sat once the others leave in adoration of the unusual music the owner, Matheo, tunes the crackling radio to and paint the scene from any angle, sure that even poor art couldn’t ruin the natural beauty of this place. When we first met I apologized, explaining that I didn’t speak French, and he simply said “it’s better that way.”
We don’t exchange many words, but lately he’s brought me a beer, no matter the hour, and small bowl of olive tapenade with sliced pita while I draw. I’m not sure of where home might be right now, but as far as I’m concerned it’s where the tapas are.