a key in your hand.
you’ve got permission to be on the reserve. all you did was ask.
it is early. your last full day, so not a minute to be wasted in bed.
you pass by the pile of sticks used to mark and identify nests.
this sunrise is your last at île de ré.
and also the most special one.
because the night before you were asked, “cathy, est-ce que je peux aller avec toi demain matin?”
your response, “bien sûr! mais tu sais bien que je me lève vers 5h30, oui?”
a slight grimace. but a “oui oui je suis motivé!” is what follows.
and this morning – they indeed all got up. the proof is in the five bikes parked in the reserve.
[cathy, can i go with you tomorrow morning?”]
[of course! but you know very well that i get up around 5:30 AM, right?”]
[yes yes i’m motivated!]
the parisian is leaving today. at noon. and you unintentionally cruelly remark, “t’imagine, maintenant t’es ici, complètement perdue dans la nature, et dans quelques heures tu vas être dans le RER? c’est dur, non?”
“non non non on ne pense pas a ça!” she exclaims.
[can you imagine, right now you are here, lost completely in nature, and in a few hours you’re going to be riding the suburban train in paris? it’s hard, isn’t it?]
the stagiaire goéland has two more months left here. lucky him.
you say goodbye to all the salicorne.
the sun is up.
and so are the goélands.
remember, it is the goélands who dominate the reserve.
but sometimes they’ll allow a non goéland to hang around. such as this mouette rieuse.
who apparently seems to be dive feeding, which is normally a trademark of a stern. you enjoy the show anyway.
goodbyes are tough.
but not quite yet, because you still have until tomorrow for the final goodbye.
profiter profiter profiter is all you can do in situations like this.
[make the most out of it]
the afternoon passes quickly.
it’s sunset time.
marée basse. [low tide]
a grand coefficient.
all this means… pêche à pied! eating seafood right off the rocks.
well, a bit further out as it must be at least fifty meters from the commercial digues. sea walls.
so while part of the group came unprepared without boots,
you ran far off with another. with an oyster knife. and the hunt begins. to pull off oysters (adults of course!), squeeze a bit of lemon onto it, and to taste the ocean.
no restaurant is capable of recreating this taste, sorry. boots and a good knife are required.
at the same time, the sun is vanishing. your last sunset.
add in some cheese and wine, because don’t forget, you are still en france. in france.
you are nice and bring back extra oysters for those who didn’t bring boots. slurp slurp!
it’s getting colder and colder. darker and darker. time to go.
one last bike ride back.
and one last à table.
after all, all that at the beach was just an apéro. there is no way anybody is skimping on a last meal. pissaladière, a baked pasta dish, a brownie, a yogurt cake, and a raspberry chocolate pavlova.
your last memories at île de ré were spent eating. drinking. laughing.
just like every day for the entire five weeks.