Le vent nous portera
‘Le vent nous portera’* plays in the living room.
Ça va? Such a loaded question in such a simple way.
Outside 20 knot winds carry snow to create drifts all around us, but inside the base it’s language that carries our thoughts to create the bonds between us. I never realized how ‘big’ language truly is or how much of a roll it plays into this experience, but already I see that so much more than just words and meanings goes into it.
Only 5 Italians, 6 French (even though Georges is actually from Belgium) and me, the lone Dutch guy, remain at the station for the winter. So far the language has been English here, and though it’s not my first language, I often found myself explaining that ‘quiet’ is spelled a bit like ‘quite’, but is in fact quite different. I got it, but suddenly the language of the base changed. We started speaking French instead, as if a silent agreement came in with the wind and snow. It works, and I’m getting it, sometimes (I think), but it’s still a strange shift for me.
‘Ah, c’est bon, le Français de Floris… Mais je ne comprend pas…’ – Georges laughing during dinner.
And sometimes it’s just there, this little moment, when I begin drifting away from all the languages being carried on around me. I hear French on my right, too fast to comprehend, and Italians laughing on the left. I’m in the middle, my thoughts settling into my own language, English, or is it Dutch? I don’t know, it’s all mixed up a bit…
Even the silences are becoming ‘silènce’.
As the winds pick up, I’m asked to remove the flags from the roof of the base. Next to the French and Italian flags flies my own. Red, white & blue. All dancing in the wind together. It is then that I realize it, it truly is the wind that carries us along and we will be fine.
Ça va? Oui, ça va!
Le vent nous portera, even in Antarctica.
* Le vent nous portera – Noir Desir – 2001