Friday, August 23, 2013

Suspended in amber


For various reasons, it has been a bit of the Summer that Wasn't. No visits to the beach with sandy puppers in tow or rosé-drenched apéro's in a flowerly bower. In a certain sense, we knew it would be so--it was in the Planning as Remi is knee-deep, slowly pushing a three year long project into home, leaving me a loopy amount of time to reason and read. And so I have been taking in the words, taking in the words until I am full and restless. Quand c'est trop, c'est trop.

In this lull of in-between, I have let myself get trapped in amber, like a prehistoric fly. In my emptiness, I have built up a routine to create structure in all of this floppy space. A very relaxed version of métro, boulot, dodo. Dullness weighs my body down and thoughts cease to swing. Yes, there are elements of routine in Arles that have a perfume of gorgeousness about them but if I am not seeing them, well, I might as well be sleepwalking anywhere. Luckily my camera can rearrange my focus when I cannot.

The streets of Arles are solid but also shady and shaking. I have lived here for eight years now, quite some time for a nomad like me. I walk them in patterns and loops, where the dogs lead, I follow. That too can be dulling blind until the light shifts and on the wall in front of me and an angle aligns or a sign is revealed, one that I had somehow never seen. A bit of magic and blink are the must of these little gifts. It is a moment that inevitably makes me smile and snaps the amber quick to set me buzzing free.










"I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness."

--The Two Gentlemen of Verona, William Shakespeare


So no great adventures for the moment, friends, just little, local ones.
Thanks for being along for the ride.
Have a wonderful weekend.


45 comments:

  1. Your little local adventures are big ones for us! Yes, the end of summer leaves me feeling sluggish, too - a good time, as you have demonstrated, to try to look around me with fresh eyes! Thank you for another beautiful post about your beautiful town - wish I was there to take it all in with you!

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    1. I wish you were too. Missing you my beautiful, talented Sister...

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  2. It's nice to have some dogs as company. They make excellent companions and friends.

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    1. I would be lost without them, Mr. Laoch.

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  3. We too have had a summer at home. . .built ourselves a new flower garden, this week I started canning some of nature's bounty. . .on a few occasions I have thought we should be traveling, doing 'something', but then again it is good to have 'down time'. It makes me appreciate the adventures so much more when they begin again. Hug those puppers of yours, drink some bubbly and definitely keep these wonderful posts coming! Happy Weekend! xo J.

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    1. Thank you Jackie--it sounds like you are making the most of your home time, how lovely. :)

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  4. Aren't the little local adventures sometimes the best? I think that the quiet, the slow times, the times when you can do nothing but be still, are the ones that lead to the most growth and change in our lives. And now that I've been to Arles, I don't think I can ever tire of your gorgeous detail shots. I feel like I understand your point of view so much better now that I've seen the light on the textured walls and the shadows on the cobblestones. Enjoy these last days of summer, Heather. There will be time for grand adventure another day. XOXO

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    1. Thank you so much, Jeanne. It was so fun watching you see all the details that I love here! And yes, a good reminder that sometimes we need the quiet times to grow--I will take that to heart.
      bisous

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  5. No one could do amber better. Sometimes we must just sit and await something wonderful.
    It will come, Heather! xx's

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    1. If you say so, dear friend, I will believe it.
      xo

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  6. I thought the green one or the soaring spire against the blue sky means "snaps the amber quick to set me buzzing free."

    I'm learning to take photos from different angles from yours. I like the contrast and 'texture'.

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    1. Your photos are already gorgeous enough as they are, Edgar!

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  7. Hi Heather, the light and perspective that you are capturing in the 'local' moments will play out with a wonderous sense of distance for another human sometime later, someone in time will look on with wonder...what you do is create art in the midst of time.. you can't know where it will land but do it you must! Your heart is on the page, and we need that...Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh Jayne, that really is such a fine, fine compliment and I thank you sincerely for it--I will reread it on days when I need an extra push to keep going. Merci!!!!

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  8. Oh I love this image, "suspended in amber" so beautiful. And yes, I agree with Robin that your little local adventures are big ones for us! Tell us, what have you been reading?

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    1. Hmmm...The Museum of Innocence, Flight Behavior, Bird by Bird, Blossoming n Provence, In one Person, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Annie Leibovitz's At Work (amazing).

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    2. I loved Annie L's "At Work" too. We were lucky enough to have her work exhibited right down the street from us at the Concord Museum and we attended an event practically in our own back yard where she shared the stage with Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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  9. Beautiful post, Heather. We all have them - these periods of waiting, down time, being on hold. I wish I could say I always relax and enjoy the break from whatever it is I think I should be doing instead, but sometimes it's not easy. Intellectually I know I will sooner or later kick back into gear, move forward, get on with it, but in the pause I find myself getting nervous. It's an old habit I guess.

    In any case,you could not be in a lovelier place for a little time out. Enjoy! XXXXXXX G

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    1. Nervous is the perfect word, George. I am not at all at ease as I should be during this quiet time. Will do my best to breathe and enjoy what is right in front of me.
      Gros Bisous.

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  10. Hello Heather

    Your use of amber displays the light of Arles so beautifully. Wishing Remi success in his project. I admire your patience. Meditation can help somewhat. There are some meditation tapes on you tube, I favour Deepak Chopra.
    Helenxx

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion, Helen. Doing yoga has been helping but I will most certainly look into your suggestion as well and pass on your kind wishes to Remi.

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  11. It seems that in your moments of restlessness and loneliness, Mr Shakespeare has stepped in to keep you company! Perhaps he was hovering in the shadows when the image came to you of being suspended in amber! A beautiful word image! And beautiful images of colour and shadow made real.
    You have your own work separate from Remi. We all love receiving it and wait for the next one! Perhaps there is a book waiting to emerge from your work, of photographs with your poetic musings scattered amongst the images...
    Cheers, Deborah from Melbourne.

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    1. Merci Deborah, I really appreciated that and went back to work on going through my photos--my goodness there are a lot of them! And I actually had a photo of Remi's in mind for the image--a very long time ago he photographed exactly that--some sort of prehistoric insect trapped in amber!
      And yes, when in doubt, best to consult a little MR. Shakespeare. :)

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  12. It's funny you speak of amber. We have lots of dragonflies in our garden now in Holland looking for the pond where their ancestors were born but no longer exists. Enno dug it out a few years ago. Still, they come and I sit and watch then circling in on the sunbeams of late afternoon. I am restless, too. I wonder if the garden is enough anymore for a Tumbleweed? Your shots are beautiful. xo Jenny

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    1. Thank you, Jenny and what a beautiful image of your dragonflies looking for what once was. Have you read "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kinslover? If not, I highly recommend it! How wonderful it must be to have a garden to putter around in...

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  13. Hey Heather?....

    Not entirely beside the point?...

    I went to an Episcopalian college (Sewanee; The Univesity of the South)which has always been rather famously, and quite self-consciously, anachronistic in many ways.

    I was once at a dinner in Charlottesville (seven hours north and a considerably less affected place) where someone, having learned I was a Sewanee graduate, said "Oh, I just LOVE Sewanee! It's like the 'old' South..encased in amber!".

    Another, less sentimental guest, rolled her eyes and said "I don't know about that...it's more like 'encased in aspic'....on an afternoon that's getting hotter by the minute".

    Presumably, I don't have to explain the humor ofthe second comment. The woman was RIGHT, by the way (in the years since, the University has done all it could to rid itself of potentially embarassing, self-conscious nostalgia for the Confederacy)

    Lovely posting, by the way.....

    ----david terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. No, of course you don't have to explain that comment but how I wish that I could be so witty in the moment! I always think of such remarks two minutes later, when the conversation has moved on...

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  14. Earlier in the year, when my life was very 'sluggardized' and the weather was dreary, I bought a pair of amber earrings, a necklace of amber beads and two amber rings. The amber seemed to hold all the warm, golden goodness I wanted from the world and the earrings caught whatever light there was, and danced. Amber, like your photos, makes me feel happy, as do your visits to my blog. And even though being sluggardized is dreary, I have to smile at such a wonderful word. Gallivanta

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    1. Being sluggardized is dreary! But having such lovely places to visit like chez toi is a true boost, dear G. How lovely that you bought a few portable suns to carry around with you, what a gorgeous idea!

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  15. heather your photos are breathtaking...and leave me feeling guilty for not visiting the south of france as planned! we ended up staying on martha's vineyard instead..i have no regrets as it was a wonderful for summer however, who gives up the south of france?? i will get there.
    and we've never lived anywhere longer than 5 years..i'm always wondering where we'll be next.
    best of luck to remi and his project!
    xo

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    1. Thank you, Pam, I'll pass that along! And of course, you will get here, it is only a matter of time and that you had a lovely Summer is all that matters...Yes, we are both restless after being here eight years, an eternity! I know that you understand.

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  16. lovely lovely lovely

    especially that stonework and the ironwork lamp

    gorgeous.

    thank you for the quick trip to arles.

    enjoy the musings in your head ;-)

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    1. Well, if I won't, who will? ;) And Arles was known for its ironwork and woodwork in the 18th and 19th centuries, so we have gorgeous examples of both everywhere.

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  17. What a beautiful post ... and the quote from Shakespeare is perfection. Sigh ... thank you for this.

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    1. You are very welcome--good to wrap your mind around a little Will, isn't it?

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  18. Dear Heather,
    In your wanderings, as the light of the day changes, you seize the magic for us!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Featuring:Artist Anne Harwell

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    1. Merci chere Karena but it is the light that is magic! I am just pointing and clicking... :)

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  19. Why rove into the distance when the good things are so close? or...Sometimes we think we must find the better cherries in neighbors garden. I hope my translation is understandable.

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    1. It most certainly is and what a lovely expression. Far more apt than the typical, "the grass is always greener on the other side."

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    2. Heather thank you...you always encourage me to leave a comment. Month ago I was so
      shy and insecure because of my English.

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    3. Oh gosh, your English is far, far better than you think it is!!! Write away...I always appreciate your take on things, M.

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  20. I feel a bit like you. I know that summer has happened, but now that we're on the cusp of it being over, I don't feel like I've gotten enough out of it. It kind of whirled by without me noticing. I'll be savoring these last few weeks x

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    1. I know that you will make the most of it. :) For us, it has been all work and no play. Hopefully, we will get a break up your way sometime soon, it is much needed!!!

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  21. You could not have said it better Heather...I think you could start the first page of a novel with that post. I would be eager to see what follows next. Here is something I just posted on Facebook...we seem to both be searching for words at the moment..

    "There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more" — George Gordon Byron

    attached to the following photo...

    http://lacalaveracatrina.tumblr.com/post/46940488100/painting4life-wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog

    xx

    PS...I have been remiss in blogging this summer and am just catching up. I missed your Birthday!! Happy Belated Birthday wishes my friend.

    ...and a recent favourite you might enjoy...

    http://youtu.be/HoRkntoHkIE

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  22. Your pictures break my heart with beauty, Dear Heather.

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