We made to Andorra tonight. We came up through La Seu d’Urgell, winding our way through the little mountain villages that came upon us at every corner. I love the way that the names changed. The signs were still in Catalan, but becoming seemingly more French with every kilometre we drove north. Even the architecture changed subtly. As we approached the border we noticed that the roofs were no longer flat terraces, instead they were shingled, rounding out into the quaint style of French chalets. The arid blank walls of the Spanish homes looked out of place, too hot somehow, for these snowy peaks. Although we were still in Spain, the Pyrenees Mountains are a mix of both countries, with place names separated from their mother tongue by less than a hundred kilometres.
It is like a tiny reminder, that little change, a little nudge from the earth telling us that borders are not all that matter. The landscape doesn’t change, and the people are the same, from one kilometre to the next. Languages mingle and become new dialects, and shared communities are formed. I like the way it reminds us that wherever we put a border, we can’t change the earth. We can’t change the soil, or the sea. We have to bend to it, to adapt. And that’s what we will do, again and again, changing our roofs and our language, adapting.