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User Journal

Journal Journal: My Signature

My sig:

"Las qué passoun
tournoun pas maï"

This is taken from the motto on the sundial of the church of Notre Dame de Marceille which sits just above the River Aude, by Limoux in south-western France. The site has been a place of Christian pilgrimage for at least a thousand years and a gathering place of some kind for perhaps ten thousand years. It is famous for its Black Madonna (I find Black Madonnas a little sinister) and medicinal springs which are said to heal eye complaints.

I'm guessing, but I presume the inscription is in Occitan, the language of the troubadors which still just about survives in parts of south-western France. I've always taken it to mean "These which pass will not return again" ("Celles qui passent ne reviendront plus", in French). Perhaps this is an elaboration of that now rather trite phrase "Tempus fugit" though I don't know enough Latin (and for sure no Occitan) to be certain. Anyway, I prefer it to that very common motto for sundials "I count only the hours that are serene" ("Horas non numero nisi serenas", in Latin) which sounds so pleasant but which is, alas, complete bullshit. Admittedly, it might sound better on a hot, mazy summer afternoon thick with scents and the drone of bees.

Why choose this as a sig? I've no idea. It seemed right at the time and still seems right now. At least it is far, far away from the world of IT. No one will ever know why this little knot of rock and its old, honey-coloured church have held some magic across all those centuries. And for most of that time the site was deep in a wilderness among the foothills of the Pyrenees, one of the remotest places in all of Europe. I like to be reminded of mysteries we can never solve, things that put us in our proper place. The world is full of them.

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