to Dijon to spend the Christmas holidays with my grandparents.
I have a place at the seat of the window. Forsaking my book and
colored pencils, I amuse myself watching houses, gardens,
telegraph poles, cars at the level crossing; farmers and their dogs
rush towards me and instantly vanish. A strong impression
comes over me:the conviction that this whole landscape,
with its forests, fields, cows, has no continuity, no permanence;
the feeling in my abscence that it will not be there; that it was
set up as the train approached, and will be taken down once it
has passed. The setting up is done with precision, with an
unremitting fidelity, since from one year to the next I find
everything in place: the same hills, the same little stations, the same
villages hugging the bank of the river. How is it that there is
never a slip? How is it that the arrival at Laroche never changes.
even imperceptibly? That the tunnels are always the same
length? ...Where was all this stored in our abscence?
If the train went faster, would it go too fast for the
stagehands in charge of the countryside? Would it arrive
in still empty places, surprising the nothingness that
must prevail there?...
(from THE STATUE WITHIN by Francois Jacob)