Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Olive gray



I find peace in plenty while walking through an olive grove...


...and I know I am not the only one.


Yes, I am well aware that these trees have been declared a simplistic symbol, the Provence of Provence...


...but I breathe them in and love them now with time and understanding, just like our varying sky. 


For the leaves twist with the seasons, dipping into a palette...


... that soothes yet is vibrant enough to inspire a shout or a joyful run...


...while the trunks, raising raides sometimes a hundred years, twist inward with still solidity.


It is my Japanese garden. Ordered and quiet...


...with just enough rustle to sweep away the gray.


*Update: Oooh, I am so excited to be guest-posting today, Thursday, over at the absolutely amazing D. A. Wolf's blog "Daily Plate of Crazy": 
I hope that you will enjoy and stop over to say hello!*

53 comments:

  1. Thank you for this little zen moment. I am taking it in along with some tea and cookies before I get back to work (yes, I have some work!) It reminds me that I love olive trees too and that I have actually seen them, in the flesh! My niece was married at a villa in the hills near Florence. It was summer and the sun was hot. And boy do I need that image today as the rain is pouring down so steadily that we didn't even take Karina out for her morning walk.

    The rocks, the tree bark, the running dog.... And just as I was asking myself, "Oú est Monsieur Ben?!" there he was in the last photo.

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  2. Ahhh, Remi just mentioned that I have only been showing Kipling, not Ben two seconds ago! It is a bit normal that I am a little fixated with our new pupper, non? :) And oh my, I too am taking in your memory of being in a villa in the hills near Firenza--yes, please!

    PS. Hooray for work!

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    1. Totally normal. And yes, it was a beautiful spot. We made it to the wedding -- just, but but due to airline problems, had no time at all in Firenza.

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  3. ...but I breathe them in and love them now with time and understanding. Beautiful!

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  4. Dear Heather,

    Since we've never, of course, spoken of the matter, I have no idea whether you're a practicing/devout/whatever Christian or not. As someone who happened to have long-assumed that I'd be a priest before I was thirty, I do happen to be.

    As someone who's travelled (sp?) the world and witnessed many forms of spirtuality/religion, you probably don't waste much time fretting over the issue/s of specific religions and/or denominations.

    that said?....I'll spare you the first stanza of the 19th century poet (sorry to go all skoolmarmy on everyone, but this IS/was my field)Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem (it's available on the internet and in more than just a few books).

    Your lovely posting, however, reminded me of the second stanza of this brief, beautiful poem (I first read it when my grandmother gave it to me, when I was 16).

    " And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

    I'm so glad to see so many folks responding so sincerely to your postings and writings and art. I'm a fairly harrowing(some would say "acidic" or "mean") critic, myself....and it takes something special for me to suddenly be reminded of a poem as lovely as the one I've just quoted.

    As the old blues song goes?....."You've got what it takes".

    so,Heather?.... keep on writing and taking those snapshots and generally delighting folks with what you see and think.

    Admiringly,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com





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    1. Oh David, that poem. It made my heart jump it is so beautiful. Everything about it, the meaning, the phrasing and sonority, all of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the millionth time because you have given me so much--of course literally and figuratively. And also just for your belief and gentle pushing me forward.

      I still can't get over this poem.

      And for the record (as you like to say), you are quite right. I have become a "picker and a chooser" because I have been so very fortunate to have seen so many different religions, in such different social structures. How similar those with a true faith are no matter what their coda. And how saddening are those that use a structure to hide a bad heart. I need to work with what I understand and I understand more easily that which I have felt and experienced rather than ideology.That is just me. I certainly have seen the strength that believing in something gives even under the most terrible of conditions...

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    2. Oh, Heather....The Hopkin's poem is "God's Grandeur". you'll find the entire (if short) poem at:

      http://www.bartleby.com/122/7.html

      It's lovely as the day is long, I think....and have thought so since I was a teenager.

      To paraphrase your remark?.....I still haven't gotten over it....thirty something years after I first read it.

      No need to respond,

      david

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  5. P.S. Just for the record?......Dominique had already written (by herself and for HERSELF) "Slow Love" when a publisher she
    'd-known-for-years approached her and said "What about your trying to write something about losing your job and finding happiness?...that might sell...".....and she said (I'm paraphrasing) "Funny thing....I've already been doing that...for myself".

    Frances Mayes (a friend and neighbor of mine) has the same story regarding her memoir "Under the Tuscan Sun".

    The same goes for my friend, pulitzer-prize-winning Geraldine Brooks and her first novel.

    I'[m not gratuitously "name-dropping". I'm simply trying to assure you, as much as I can, that really good artists and writers write and draw for themselves before they bother with finding a "market" or "contract".

    all of them began by doing what you're doing now.

    I have to constantly remind myself of this these days, when I could easily just sit back on my ass and draw only when I'm assured beforehand of being paid to do so. That's not at ALL how or why I began this work twenty years ago.

    Best of luck to all of us...and I hope this doesn't sound more than usually avuncular (our ages scarcely differ) of me.


    ----david terry

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    1. No, not in the least and again, I am touched by your belief in me.
      Bien entendu.
      Thank you...

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  6. Pure poetry, Heather. I love olive trees. I am not sure exactly why I find them so fascinating but I do. I really do.

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    1. I do too, Loree. I don't think I quite got at what I wanted to say here just because there is also something mysterious in the mix as well!

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  7. As I happily walked along with you in these groves, beautifully evoked, I don't want to say captured, too brutal, I was also thinking of the great diversity of beauty and drama in nature, and our capacity to be moved by, to experience it. I note this because as I loved your photo essay, I had just returned from a palms, hibiscus and bougainvillea and 100 shades of green plants February walk home, Sarasota, Florida.

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    1. Joan! A Joan sighting! Wait, I am so excited to see your lovely face (glowing with that fine spirit I know) that I have to go back and reread your comment...

      Oh, it is true, you must have all of the diversity you could wish for in the palm of your hand...how wonderful...
      Bisous,
      H

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  8. I look forward to your walks with your dogs in Provence. It a little trip for me as well. Believe it or not the color of the cedar trees and limestone outcroppings here in the central Texas Hill Country remind me of past trips to the countryside around Uzes and Valence. I walk my two dog daily and the peace and break from work is refreshing. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Richard, it is always so lovely to hear from you. And I do believe you! There are actually several Hill Country folks that hang around here who have made the same remark before. But of course, I trust your artist eye to see so many shades and textures. Wishing you well!

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  9. i, too, was wondering where ben was - glad you added the last image!

    The light seems to have changed - there is a clearer glow - spring must be teasing. You are welcome to our summer this year - will be glad to send him on his way to your half of the world - has been so very unusually hot that I am excited even more than usual for those first few days of golden autumn. xx

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    1. Ah, how I wish it was autumn here too--you know that is my favorite season. And yes! You are completely right! It was Remi who noticed the shift in the light about a month ago...and here it is, nearly 6pm and still very light out.
      Isn't it wonderful?
      xoxox!

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  10. Was that a poem I just read???Beautiful..............
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my little site!
    XOXO

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    1. I love your "little" site!!!
      xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  11. So much beauty, Heather. There's a desolate feel to these words and images, but so calming.

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    1. Thank you D, that was what I was aiming for...good to know it rang true for you...

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  12. Sigh....can we add a bottle of wine, beautiful crusted bread, samples of olive oil...two comfortable chairs to plop in the middle of those olive trees and watch the sun go down? One more thing...your music collection...playing lightly in the background. See what I mean...when you get it, you get it. :) xx

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    1. So perfect...sigh. You know how to live, my friend!

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  13. ah - divine - Running with Dogs in an Olive Grove.

    could anything be more delicious?

    do visit us tomorrow with you Rilke quote please :-)

    sweet dreams.

    glad you enjoyed the Yeats and the Keats.

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    1. Done! And how happy I am to be reading poetry after a bit of a break...fills the soul.

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  14. Oooo - methinks your winter is fading whilst we just had a huge snowstorm!! It looks positively spring-like in your beautiful photos! I love the tree trunks, especially; oh, and some happy puppers! : ) Glad that your romp in the country brought such happiness!

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    1. Oooh Sister, if you weren't heading out to SF I would say come back over here please! We miss you!! And Kipling needs to meet you!!!!

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    2. Does SIS want to meet LA CONTESSA??Happy to have her for dinner.......xoxo

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    3. You are so amazing! She is there on a truly whirlwind weekend for her boyfriend's band is having a reunion. But that is so lovely (and typical of wonderful you) to offer...I know that I wouldn't miss a meal at your house for the world!

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  15. Lovely thoughts as always and you capture such peace in your photos. It makes me wish I could whisk myself away for a weekend in Provence! I shall wait for Spring!

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    1. Hooray!!! And then do make that trip, it is closer than you think and easy as can be...

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  16. Oh, my love, how much more I adore you for this piece written at your friend's place. Of course, what none of them realized was that THEY were so dreadfully outdated, while you blazed a new trail (something us Texan's say). Bravissimo.

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    1. Merci, Marsha! But I haven't seen anything mean at all in the comments. For which I am grateful. :)

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  17. How lucky you are to have olive groves on your doorstep - they have a special meaning for me too, from my childhood in Portugal. Here in England I grow two in pots to remind me ... they don't always cope well with winters here.
    Lovely to see your dogs looking handsome and happy (like twins they are!).
    And I loved your post over on Big Little Wolf - I would have given your choice of outfit a round of applause :)

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  18. Oh thank you, Karen--I could have used it! ;) And you grew up in Portugal?!? I have been told by many a fellow voyager that it is one of the true "bijous" on Earth.

    And oh, your poor oliviers during winter!! It is why we don't have them here in pots (we live in town) but appreciate them to our utmost when we are in the country, happily only a fifteen minute drive away.

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  19. Wooohooo! Heather, I love D.A.'s "Daily Plate of Crazy". You won't know it because I never once made a comment. Hahahaha, and you can't shut me up in here, "Lost in Arles"...:) I know she had TeamGloria as her guest yesterday (?). Love it when I know the guest writers (meaning online). Go girl!

    Would love to take a walk in the olive grove under that clear blue sky.

    XO Amelia

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    1. Amelia, you are such a mysterious character to me...I don't know why but it is true!

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  20. Wowzer, love your article in D.A.'s blog. Reading your article reminds me (hope I'm not mixing up my books), "A Year in Provence", Peter Mayle and his wife went to a party in Provence, same thing, not dressed up and the whole crowd were in their fineries... I tend to like the quote from "Hamlet", "to thine own self be true". And you were true to yourself Heather. And that, in my opinion wears better than silk, cashmere, diamonds and emerald. I have this image in my head of you as "Marlene Dietrich" with combat boots minus cigarette holder...:)

    xx Amelia

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    1. Oooh, that is a fabulous description!! And it must have been in the noggin' when I was getting ready because I even did 30s style makeup too...

      Merci for all of your kindness...Bon weekend!

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  21. Hello, Heather, this morning I came to know you over on "Biglittlewolf" -- and put both of you (you in a comment) into a blogpost -- http://devifemme.livejournal.com/1323980.html

    Then, later, I saw your amazing post on Provence on her blog and came here -- well, voila! Wonderful! Do you chance to know of the late Lawrence Durrell, a great novelist? He wrote five books comprising the Avignon Quintet, and lived the last 20 years of his life near Arles. (Earlier he wrote the better-known Alexandria Quartet, including Justine -- for whom I'm named...)

    Tried to post this identifying Livejournal as my origin; Blogspot couldn't do that, so I'm coming as "anonymous" -- sorry!

    Thanks again, Justine

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    1. Ah, thank you Justine! And thank you so much for the mention of Durrell--it is the SECOND time WITHIN TWO DAYS that he has been brought up and do you know that, while of course, I have heard of him and his wonderful books, I have never read a one. Thanks to you both I plan to take care of that pronto.

      Hooray!

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  22. Another wonderful adventure 'with' you Heather. Thanks for taking me along~

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  23. cherie - Love This!! http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/2013/02/28/french-chic-and-shock-transitioning-to-life-in-france/

    more please.

    more.

    *wavingfromlosangeles*

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  24. Leslie in Portland, OregonMarch 1, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    You are teaching me about the many faces of beauty, Heather. What a privilege to receive your words and photographs. And to see the dogs romping, both off leash!!! Fondly, Leslie

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  25. Very soothing to me at day's end to see this post (and the dogs!). I read you more and more lately; I love the way you write.

    I had a large olive tree in the backyard of my last home; I miss it. It was gnarled and sturdy, surviving wind and drought 'way out West (U.S.). Here, our groves are lemons or avocados; a few orange trees remain and their blossoms filled the night air after a warm day yesterday.

    David Terry does seem to pop up where I travel in the blogosphere; always a delight.

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  26. Oh, vicki.....

    Yes, we do seem to cross blogosphere paths on a regular basis.

    Someday?....just come up the front walkway to this 220 year old, quirky-as-hell house and knock on the front door.

    I should emphasize that, if you'd like to meet the actual thing, you'd do better to go around to the back, kitchen-wing and knock on that door; the front (and oldest part) of the house is simply closed-off during the Winter.

    If you bang on one of the kitchen doors, however, you'll be greeted (euphemism for being attacked) by the terriers, and I'll eventually show up. I'm usually holed-up, like "Startrek"s Lieutenant Uhuru at her control panel, in the big laundry room/"studio" (which, since the restoration, sits in what used to be the servant's passage between the main house and the formerly-separate kitchens).

    Glad to be a "delight", of course (particularly since I'm about to go down to the Post Office and try to pick a fight about a lost package/painting). I'll probably lose the argument....I know.

    ----david terry

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  27. This is like I've walked with you :)
    Thank you for the photographic journey, Heather!
    (BeautyCalypse talking)

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  28. Heather - Thank you so much for bringing your gorgeous words and impeccable sense of style to my little online home. I hope you will again.

    Merci mille fois. Nickel.

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    1. Merci a toi, D. Your encouragement means so much to me.

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  29. Well, Heather, thanks for your indulgence as David and I exchange hellos in strange yet familiar cyberspace. Your post about your mom's Big News was generous and loving.

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    1. Vicki, are you kidding? Nothing makes me happier when people chat between themselves here! And yes, David is usually involved with that--I am very grateful to have him here. He is a good egg through and through.

      I just feel bad that I have behind on the comments--it has been a big week!

      So thank you to all of you that I haven't responded to yet for your kindness. I never, ever take it for granted...

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  30. Such a peaceful looking place. A fine place for a canine to run.

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* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

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