Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
rock cress doing the humble work of flowers, whose only purposes are
softening angles, covering bareness, and perfuming the winds … To the
north, the brutal line of the Câpes Raides is etched against the sky like a
black monster crouching in the sea. By a mirage effect, the south shore
appears very near; the undulating curve of the blue hills follows its course
under the solid embankment of bright clouds. Groups of white dots lit up
by the sun mark the villages. Here's Montmagny, farther down Cap-
Saint-Ignace, l'Islet, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Saint-Roch-des Aulnaies. They're
sleeping, the villages, the beautiful villages, intoxicated with light and
peace … Between them and us, in the distance, on the sparkling water,
tremble the thin poles for porpoise fishing; they encompass an immense
space … In front of us, at the level of the crannies carved into the shore and
covered with sticky kelp, descends a black flight of marauding crows …
But the centre of the landscape is truly the cross, the old black cross drea-
ming in its little enclosure, among the dark pyramids of the firs … The
place has scarcely changed since the bygone days when Father La Brousse,
in the shade of the green trees, celebrated the Eucharistic rite. It's the same
horizon, the same cry of the gulls, the same singing waves, still the same,
above the same silt-filled crannies. ]
The description begins with a precise designation of the vantage point,
a lichen-covered rock set off in red against a complementary sea of
greenery, and the relationship of the viewers to the surrounding space
is noted repeatedly: 'autour de nous,' 'entre eux et nous,' 'devant nous.'
At the same time, the status of vision itself is called into question from
the outset, as the observers are there both to observe and to dream
('pour regarder et pour rêver'), that is, to receive impressions and pro-
ject reactions. Indeed, the impression, rendered on this sunny day by
the metaphor of snow ('il a neigé'), has the same status ('ou bien') and
even precedes the identification of its literal inspiration, the bank of
white flowers ('ce sont les céraistes et les graciles arabettes'), which
erases sharp forms and angles ('adoucir les angles') in favour of an
overall image dominated by colour and light. To the north, the harsh
line of the shore seems drawn ('dessine') against the sky, but takes the
metaphorical form of a sea monster, while a visual mirage causes the
south bank to appear closer than in reality. Yet another visual paradox
causes the distant hills to assume a bluish colouring and appear to roll
('la courbe onduleuse des collines bleues'), while the bank of clouds
above, bursting with light, seems far more solid ('la solide banquise des
nuages éclatants'). The very sentence structure mirrors the visual act, as
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