Province of the Heart: A Memoir

Roman hill near the village
In 2001, one week after the 9/11 attacks, I arrived in the rugged, sparsely populated region of Haute Provence for a long-planned stay. I had come to write a book about one small corner in a decades-old war, World War II (see The Argonauts), but found myself paralyzed by the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. response: an endless “war on terror” targeting civilians abroad and at home. I felt my world had been torn apart -- and who would want to read a book about an old war, when a new one was exploding?.

I settled in a tiny village of no more than one hundred souls, in the shadow of the plateau where the great Provencal writer Jean Giono created a community of visionaries, all passionately dedicated to the land and its people. Over the eight months I lived there, that land and its people stitched my world back up again, through the deep succor of the relationship between humans and the natural world that embraced them.

My memoir of my sojourn in Provence is a work-in-progress. Feel free to comment on what you read here. I will be posting chapters as I work on them, in no particular order.