Van Gogh & The Dead in Arles, France

It’s late October, but the sun beats down on my bare head with the ferocity of an August heat wave. I stand at the entrance of Les Alyscamps, Elisii Campi, the Elysian Fields. It is the final resting place of Roman dead in Arles in the South of France. A cloying floral scent weighs heavily in my throat, the scent of thousands of funerals over thousands of years. Tall straight trees line the walkway like sentinels. Or prison bars. I’m alone at the gates to the great necropolis and I’m in the open air, but still I feel suffocated.