Learning My Way
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 1:46PM
Katherine Douglass in Chenebier, Etobon, Mont-Vaudois

Houses near the church in Chenebier

The week after the ceremony, I began to explore the villages of my parish. While my colleague, Jean-Jacques, had responsibility for the town of Héricourt and the villages immediately surrounding it, I oversaw the more distant ones. During my work in France, I’d often “faire le tour” of my territory, just to see what was going on. Had the snow been plowed in Chagey? Was there still road construction outside Champey? Had they finished the work on the village square in Couthenans? I’d drive from one village to the next, on the lookout for people and events.

That last week in September, after driving the short distance from Couthenans to Chagey, I drove out through the woods towards Chenebier. It was the first time I’d driving out there myself without following someone who knew the way.

I turned left off the main road towards the village of Chenebier, and then saw a sign that said, Rue d’Etobon, Etobon Street, on my left. I thought, that must be the way to Etobon and the church at Chenebier. I knew the church was on the top of the hill on the left, overlooking the main part of the sprawling village. I followed the Rue d’Etobon for a while, until I saw it was leading me away from the landmark steeple instead of closer to it.

I turned around and retraced my route, something I did a lot of in France. I got back to the main road and followed it through the twists and turns, hills and valleys of Chenebier, trying to keep the “arrow” of the steeple in view. I finally turned one last corner and was in front of the church. I pulled into the tiny parking area and got out. I had brought my camera along, already feeling the need to document this story, the massacre, the mystery.

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