Down a narrow lane near the Palais de Papes, on the rue de la Monnaie, you will find a small wine shop, the Cave du Bouffart. Through a narrow door, down a few steps, into a space the size of a compact bedroom is a wonderful selection of local wines and wine paraphernalia, where you will be greeted by the most pleasant, “bonjour!”
There next to the counter stood a bin of dark, glistening walking sticks, more attractive at the moment than the wine. I picked one out, aware that getting a five foot stick with a semi-pointed end through all the security checks between Avignon and Seattle would be a challenge. The proprietor explained that it was made of chestnut, the stain is like a deep cherry, engraved with “Cave du Bouffart, Avignon.”
There is something about a walking stick that says slow down. Whether it is a ramble up a mountain trail, or strolling elegantly down Oxford Street in London, a stick in one’s hand defies hurry. I walked down the rue de la Monnaie, stick in hand, it’s metal tip taping on the old stone pavement, each metallic tap reinforcing my commitment to slow down, to remember the pace of Provence in the hype of Seattle.
My stick tapped along the streets of Gordes, through vineyards, up the path leading to the chapel in Moustiers Sainte Marie. I carried it on the train from Lyon to Paris, and then Paris to London, and all the way home to Seattle.
If Sting can carry a walking stick in “An Englishman in New York” then I just might start carrying mine down the streets of Seattle.