I was caught completely unawares. Linda said the church at Sous-Parsat was worth a look. We drove a circling route that took in Bourganeuf and bought some bread to later spread with fruit beneath the trees beside a source of water from the hill; cheeses, cucumbers chopped and chilled with juice, tomatoes on the vine, bottled beer. Before that though she took us through the door, a portal filled with shadows like a dream you only half remember as you wake. I expected all the usual things; a faded pastel Virgin looking down as if in expectation of rebuke, an alter screen of oak where woodworm drilled graffiti, unaware of sacraments, centuries of dust and disillusion. But what we came upon was like a shaft of light, a clap of thunder suddenly unleashed, a pasture full of sunflowers glimpsed through the window of a train, the way your heartbeat catches at the sight. The walls, vaults, the ceiling set alight to tell the stories, even though our atheist ways reject these things, we know beat through us like a pulse, a pause for meditation, constant, unavoidable, only sensed as breathing is, or guilt, or love.