Monday, October 10, 2011

Perfect timing

A fight was brewing. Remi and I could both feel the little sparks of crankiness flowing between us. It had been a long weekend full of work and planning. Even our little idea to return to one of our favorite antique shops had been spoiled, we were too late. Nothing was working out right. We had hopped in the car in hopes of forcing things into shape but no. Crazy drivers seemingly attached to our bumper only made things worse. Sparks threatened to flame into fires. 

Luckily for us both, we just out and out fessed up to what was happening and whoosh--all of that stress just flew out the window like a balloon. Funny that, how giving bad behavior a name can make it look so foolish that it runs away with its tail between its legs.

So we let go of the throttled fun and just took a look at where we were. Well, happily we were in the heart of the Alpilles. Remi suggested a fail-safe idea, to take a walk along the cliff facing Les Baux des Provence, one of the most picturesque villages in France (that I wrote about here). Ooof. I must have still had a couple of neutrons of nastiness zigzagging through me as I was ready to whine about the wind being too strong, too cold. I took a quick mental inventory of Francine Gardner's recent post about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and felt foolish. We all know that the very first rule of travelling is no whining.

Soon enough, we pulled over, Ben, our gorgeous Golden, was freed from the back and we were scraping along over a trail that is not a trail but stone marked with wagon wheels of who knows when. 

Occasionally Remi and I jumped up to get a better view, leaving Ben below as a brave lookout. What was going on with the clouds? They were what I refer to as UFOesque as they were more than slightly suspicious in their perfect hoveringness. 

Remi has more of a hunter instinct than our Golden. His head lifted up and with a turn of the head he mumbled to himself "Is the light going to descend below the cloud?" or something to the effect. I lost the end of his phrase as he had broken out into a run, chasing the light. I have to say, I love when he does this, I find it so hopelessly attractive.

Ben kept returning to find me on the trail as if to say "Hurry up!" When I finally descended down towards our favorite spot, I saw that the light had expanded into a giant flaming veil hovering across the village. And with a nearly full moon, rising just above, well, well, well.

Like Remi, I started shooting like mad--however with my tiny, forever disappointing Pentax. Ah, save for when the light is absolutely perfect. For some mysterious reason, then it seems to snap to and try and deserve its place in my hands. So alive, so alive the light...gorgeous and then...gone.

Now, when you are the companion to a photographer, it is best to learn about timing. And time. Because, as you have already most likely understood, all of the delays, the miniscule hesitations delivered us to right where we needed to be at exactly the right moment. We saw something extraordinary. Remi kept seeing it, as he always does and I leaned up against trusty Ben to stay warm.

The sky waxed violet and gray, what an elegant combination. Very Oscar Wilde. I paid attention to the pulling at my ear to finally hear the pines telling me to shut up. I promise that it wasn't more polite than that! Shut up all of those thoughts rocking through your head. Just be patient and wait. Because a photographers day isn't finished until the very last ray slicing across the horizon (and sometimes not even then), so just be happy to be where you are. There isn't anything better than this, just this. Remi's birthday is tomorrow. I felt this experience was a little gift, in advance from the Powers that Be. 

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.


  1. These are incredible images Heather love the moon hovering up above the clouds. There's a reason Remi is a photographer, great eye! Love the picture of you and Ben, Ben looks just like our Dylan there. A very Happy Birthday to Remi and I hope all three of you enjoy the day!

  2. feeding those hungry ghosts of anger, impatience or allowing them to be as nuts as they always are, they end up giving you and us the most delicious gifts...and darling girl, super woman, your wisdom resonates. keep singing. keep seeing.

  3. Only you, Heather, can turn anger into something wise and beautiful! Clever girl! Turn it all on it's head.
    Even if they were taken with the hateful little Pentax, these images are incredibly arresting. Such an ethereal light. I'm starting to see this landscape differently now too, after you mentioned it is drier and rockier than other parts of Provence. So the rugged beauty throws up a wilder, more ancient and untamed kind of magnificence.
    Do wish Remi a very happy birthday from me - and I hope you get to celebrate the day with lots of laugher and love, and nary a cross thought in sight! Virginia xx

  4. Thank you so much ladies. I'll pass the wishes on to Remi! Amazingly, he was able to take the day off today and so we are going to head up to Avignon (but as we are going to a museum Ben will have to stay home Debra!).
    Trace, I sure don't feel the least bit "wise"--I had insomnia last night and wow the crazy thoughts that come out at 4am! Yikes!
    Yes, Virginia, that is definitely true about the landscape here. Don't forget that we also have those ferocious Mistral winds beating down all winter too so that all of the vegetation that survives is tenacious! And I promise, no cross thoughts! That is one of the family rules for a birthday--everyone has to treat the celebratee like a king/queen! :)

  5. Timing is everything in life........And you have a wonderfully, positive and insightful attitude to help you ride the troughs and peaks.
    I enjoy looking through Remi's lens - he is so skilful. Best wishes for the celebrations tomorrow.

  6. Good morning, Elizabeth! All of the photos on my blog are taken by little 'ol me. :) But Remi is indeed one heck of a photographer--his work can be seen at
    Thank you for the compliment--wishing you a wonderful day!

  7. Heather, thank you for your thoughtful comment on my post today...I so agree with you about the crediting of images. I also work with a photographer in a styling role and this is something that worries me too. PInterest is difficult because there is really no way to credit directly the source of the image and this is one great downfall of the system. The truth is that unless you are involved in the industry 'crediting' is not second nature....I never think it is malicious just misunderstanding and ignorance of protocol...Enjoy your day....Love to meet up some time...xv

  8. I absolutely agree with you Vicki. I don't think it is malicious either! I just wanted to put the idea out there as a reminder. I know that you put your heart into your stylist work with Carla and don't want to see it misused either.
    I'd love to meet up! Maybe a post-market glass of wine? I am reachable by email at

    For those of you that don't follow Vicki's amazing blog, French Essence (shame on you!) , you can understand what we are talking about on her post here:

  9. What color lipstick do you have on?Dont tell me thats your natural color!Beautiful post.HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY REMI!

  10. Happy Birthday to Remi!!

    Such a magical view. I often need to remind myself to just be happy in the moment I'm in.

    ~ Clare x

  11. Oh my, I forgot to respond! Um, sure, La Contessa, that is absolutely my natural color. ;) Or otherwise it is a lipstick by the French company, Une, that I just found and adore. Very natural.

    Clare, doubt you will see this but I loved your post today!


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