Back then, everyday was a Saturday afternoon, open for business, rubbing shoulders with the world that was intent on spending, spending, spending; now, with a donkey, it's always Sunday, a slouching Sunday afternoon in which every second counts. Yet there's nothing to buy or anything to sell .
'The demon of speed is often associated with forgetting, with avoidance . and slowness with memory and confronting', observes Milan Kundera in his novel, Slowness. With this purpose in mind - a search for slowness and tranquility - Andy Merrifield sets out on a journey of the soul with a friend's donkey as his only companion, to walk amid the ruins and spectacular vistas of southern France's Haute-Auvergne.
The steadfast pace of the journey and the understated nobility of Gribouille, his humble donkey, allow him to confront himself as well as to consider the larger mysteries of life.
As Merrifield contemplates literature, science, beauty and the universality of nature amidst the French countryside, his gentle companion surprises him with his subtle wisdom, reminding him time and again that enlightenment is all around us if we only take the time to seek it.
Andy Merrifield was born in Liverpool, England in 1960. He taught geography for over a decade in assorted British and American universities. He is author of four previous books, including biographies of two twentieth-century French philosophers. He now lives and writes in a small rural community in France's Auvergne region.