Our vacation: Birds flying high overhead. Pink sunset glowing through wind-tossed surf waves. A mountain-meadow chorus of sheep bells as the flock grazes its way through rich grass, unaware of the drop-away view to ancient valleys below, or the medley they’re creating that sounds like a hundred wind chimes.

We’ve just returned to Toulouse, France (where we’re living temporarily) from three relaxing days along the French and Spanish Atlantic coast and into the Pyrenees. I left my manuscript-in-progress at my desk, stalled on Chapter Thirteen (of twenty). Closing in on the crisis, climax and resolution, but in need of a break.

The night before we left, all hell broke loose in Paris, and the president closed the borders. We figured we’d get turned away from entering Spain, but that we’d give it a try. The closure was lifted hours before we arrived; our rental car moved slowly past machine-gun toting border guards. We entered Spain’s Basque country and breathed easy, trying not to let the devastating pictures of the morning newscasts roll through our heads.

We’ve returned from our vacation refreshed, and I’m back into the flow.

But in Paris? What follows the crisis? Where’s the climax and resolution? Where’s the badly needed break that allows sun and music to pour in? Who’s in charge of this sick, unfolding story? Are tears and mountains of flowers and a moment of silence enough? My heart pours out to the families who’ve lost loved ones. May they, and France, find some semblance of peace.