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Mount Blanc

February 14th, 2011 by NKatre in slider

Cold blues Alpine hues: Monte Blanc, Chamonix, France. Photo and Story by Vincent Carver Gilliam

I was driving through France with my wife and son, and, in the only way I still could, had just fulfilled a promise to James Baldwin when he was still alive, to visit him at his home in St. Paul de Vence on the French Riviera in the hills above Nice.  That is, I made a pilgrimage to his home, and spent the afternoon there reminiscing.

We had begun our journey in Paris, drove northwest and had seen Mount St. Michel in Normandy, drove south past the medieval town of Carcassone, past Bordeaux and over to Burgundy, then further eastward over to Monaco and toward the Italian border, before heading north and up through Interlaken, in order to complete the long, slow loop back once again to Paris.

Along the way, we first wanted to visit Chamonix and see Mont Blanc and experience the Alps.  Perhaps it was because I write with a fountain pen, a Mont Blanc in fact, large as it is to fit neatly into my hands, hands the size a pianist would envy; or maybe because we knew of the beauty and sensed the allure of the snow capped peak, as you too can see and sense here in the breathtaking photograph I took.

Whatever the primary reason, we headed to Mont Blanc, and once there, after a night’s rest, we ascended the three funiculars in order to reach the several thousands of feet in altitude our ascent into the freezing thin air demanded of us, if we were to accomplish our task.

Our ascent into the heavens gave new meaning to me for the phrase, “What a breathtaking view!” as I became light headed from a lack of oxygen and began to fall backward, caught only by my wife and small son, and thereby saved from tumbling down the several flights of stairs that culminate an eager tourist’s ascent to the viewing platform at the top level.

Whenever I see this picture, I always remember how special that journey was with my family, and then wonder whether this might not be the best way in fact to view Mont Blanc, as I look down, reflect, and admire the beauty of my pen and the blue of its ink.

- Vincent Carver Gilliam

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