Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yes and no

My Mom surprised me the other day with a comment that shouldn't have, I suppose. "You know that people think of your life as glamorous, whether it is or not to you." I forget that at times, as well as the assumptions, the easy clichés tacked on to the idea of living in France, let alone Provence. It hasn't always helped me with my relations that are far away. When I was working full time as a travel writer? Yes, that I agree was decidedly the stuff that glamorous dreams reside on. I spent my 35th birthday as a producer for Remi's ad for Apple at a luxury camp that we had hired out in Botswana, along with their trained elephants. Once the shot was in the can, we cracked a bottle of Veuve and then headed off on safari, where I spotted the Momma lion and her cubs before flying out in a private plane towards home. Now, that, to me, counts.

In this odd time while I am not working, when we are posing mega questions about everything--where we should live, what we should do, let alone truly feeling the pinch of not having money coming in--no, it doesn't feel so heady. Remi is pushing so hard to make things happen, to advance on his projects that I worry, even though I understand. So at times we find ourselves brushing up against a fistful of 'no's. 

Although it may seem that we spend our days aimlessly slicing through the region, all is done with the  goal of advancing Remi's current project. Every kilometre is counted, especially as the price of gas (or petrol) is roughly seven times what it is in the States. So imagine our frustration when, after nearly two hours of searching, we arrived at our first stop, only to find that it was on private property? Barred. Or that the scenic point on the infamous Col de la Madeleine (often the back-breaker and occasional life-taker on the Tour de France) was actually an unmarked bunker from the Second World War? Scarred. I couldn't help but wonder if it had been Germans or French using this lookout. Or both. 

The clouds seemed to suck up all of the ash that swirled above the vineyards and orchards where farmers burnt last year's branches. A false evening surrounded us, covering the thousand year old Notre Dame d'Aubion all too soon. "What a shame, " an elderly gentleman out walking with his daughter noted about our visit, "Yesterday was perfect." He shrugged and tottered on. The church's tower, supposedly founded by Charlemagne, seemed to pull away from my regard.

Now do I sound a bit whiny? I don't mean to and I am well aware that those of you who visit this blog from afar, from Albania or Brazil (which thrills me to no end, truly I am delighted) are not necessarily interested in what doesn't work but by what does. So where is the "yes"? Happily, everywhere but only when I could let myself see it. In the earth sprouting wildly, scenting the air with almond tree blossoms that seem too soon, too good to be true. In the rustle of sleeping olive groves. Ben running so hard amongst them that he bounces like a rabbit. In the base beat of a new musical find thrilling us over the hills as we bounce along in our beat up Range Rover. That Remi and I can shake off our disappointments and not end up getting into a petty fight over a strange day that we can't help but take personally. To end up laughing. Yes, yes and yes.


  1. What a heartfelt perceptive post. I think we all feel this way sometimes - always different looking in on someone else's life - with the grass is greener. I guess anything would seem less impressive after your FABULOUS 35th!!

  2. A lesson for us all; I don't always let myself see the yes's, either! It reminds me of a favorite quote (by an Ojibway Indian) that keeps going through my head of late: "Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the while I am being carried on great winds across the sky."

  3. What a fascinating life journey you have had so far, and sounds as if it is set to continue with lots of twists and turns. Perspective is everything!

    Happy to join the delightfully written account of your adventures ~ this is armchair travel from my home on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia.

  4. Robin, what a beautiful quote--one that is great for all of us that are dredging through the winter blues. All is relative.

    I must say I am delighted to have comments from Quintessence and Blue Fruit. Thank you! Do please visit their fantastic blogs--but be warned--they are addictive...


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