Life in society / Un biais de viure
When we talk about geography, we usually refer to the formal aspect of it: the villages with squares, large and small streets, etc. This kind of geography is interesting for those working in cadastral administration and in the case of pictures taken by satellites, but when we consider the human aspect of geography, places can suddenly take on completely different dimensions. The former meeting places such as the washhouses or lavoirs (lo lavador like the one in Talairan) or the fountains (la font) gradually lost their importance.
Other than the usual official public halls or senior citizens clubs, every village has some kind of sheltered meeting place where the older people get together to talk about what’s going on in the village and elsewhere: the senate, the club. Gossip is often on the menu in these places.
A sense of solidarity and community came into being in order to help the weakest and those in the need: it may be a portion of salad shared with a neighbour, a few mushrooms that were picked, a helping hand, etc. Very often without expecting something in return.
Ah, the famous mushrooms and their picking spots, a closely guarded secret if ever there was one, only to be transmitted on one’s deathbed (or not at all!). Whether they be bolets (bolete), ceps (cep), cocorlas, sant miquèls (parasol mushroom), cabarlasses (agaricus), codèrlas (clitocybe), cotiva (pleurotus), maurilhas (morchella), mossairons (St. George’s mushroom), rosilhons (lactarius deliciosus or saffron milk-cap), pibolada (pholiota pudica), griseta (Tricholoma myomyces), giròla (chanterelle or girolle), etc.
Do not be surprised if someone greets or welcomes you with a loud Adieu ! Here, in the Land of Òc, even non-believers often commend their souls to God when meeting or taking leave of people.