The Celts had been there. The Romans. Napoleon III. Soldiers had built stairs there for the German emperor. Century after century, people had climbed Le Grand Donon to overlook the world.
It had made for a mythical place, one where humans and nature had finally been integrated into one. One where the human influence finally seemed to do less bad than good for a while.
Coexistence. That feels like the key to me. A place that could host thousands of years of humans and still have the feel of its original roughness, that is a place where coexistence has been possible.
I let the wind blow right through me, gave me over to the power of nature and imagined I felt just like the Celts and Romans thousands of years before me.
Coexistence seems to be hard to find in my research, where human disturbance of the vegetation turns out – time after time – to be the most important driver of change.
Unfortunately, this disturbance often goes further than a little temple on the top.