“Can’t you see it?” she asked me. “It’s Leonardo Da Vinci’s tiny French commune.”
“I’ve been walking for like an hour and I’m exhausted. I’m going to sit on this bench over here for about two days,” I told my ephemeral guide.
“Perfect. Right over there. Nope, one more bench over. There, you got it.”
The Historic Hills of Amboise, France
There, at a tiny grove of trees, I could see what she offered up. Just above the marked remains of where the Château Royal d’Amboise used to extend into a far greater complex was a grove.
A new whispering in my ears began to shift from mere chatter to a conversation overheard. I had a vision of an old man alongside two others stationed at wooden easels. Amongst the shady plane trees and Gary oak, he guided hands to sketch and capture the scene.
I stepped forward to take a closer look. A young woman stretched her neck around the closest easel to make sure I saw her.
A quiet wave.
A knowing, modest smile.
The old man waived a gentle finger at her and everyone returned to their work. Something pricking me on the shoulder forced me out of the vision. I flipped around to stare back at the river.
Could This Be The Setting Behind The Mona Lisa in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Tiny French Commune?
An arched bridge.
A wild river.
Rugged hills and shifting light.
I caught a glimpse of the landscape they had been painting in the background.
By the time I turned back around, the group of painters had vanished from view. Not from my own knowing of who I’d had the chance to watch at work that day—Melzi, Salaí, and their Master. Who was their muse? What else had they learned to paint on that hill in the magical light of Amboise?
Just beyond it on the trail, I found it.
My guide pointed out that it is marked in plain sight, for those of us who know to use as a guide.
Actually, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Tiny French Commune was a bit troubled
I nodded and acknowledged her gift, then suddenly stiffened.
My attention redirected itself by force. I moved toward what appeared to be the remains of a moat or battlement at the top of the castle. There I was offered another vision.
This time men and women fled a burning castle, but it was too late. The bodies piled up, filling the space. The screams and panic swarmed my senses until my mind snapped back and I stood in the sunshine shaking.
It would take a week for me to understand the final message of that time at the top of the world with Da Vinci.
My guide spoke in a solemn tone, offering up an explanation of what I’d seen.
“Not even his power could stop what came for us.”