Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shadows on the dial

I am taking a little break from my quasi-mystical ravings about a certain village that seems too beautiful to be true in order to share something tiny but that pleases me to no end.

We are being pulled into the time of year when the light is at its most spectacular in this corner of Provence. Every evening there is a silent show, each slightly different, as the sun bows down with the grace of a prima ballerina's final curtain curtsy.

My favorite aspect (and I know that I have written this before) is when those last rays seem to pull sideways with the rake of skeleton fingers across each surface. It can be surprisingly revealing. 

The other evening, Remi was passing by the window in front of my desk when he paused and stared. "Look at that...un cadran solaire." What was he talking about? I went to the window and sure enough on the wall directly opposite were the faint scratchings of what had once been...a sundial.

While I love to guess time based on the shadows created by a large iron hook further down the same wall, the real thing and had been there all along. And I have been looking at that exact wall every day for nearly two and a half years!

Arles can be sneaky like that, offering up little gifts when you are least expecting them. Something akin to making the baby in you gurgle with the jangle of time's keys, I would guess.

As I type the sun is warming up with pliés for this evening's performance but already I can begin to discern that scraggly half-mask, carved who knows when and for whose benefit. 

Just as I was getting ready to hit publish for the above, I had an idea. For as long as we have lived in this apartment, I have been fascinated by a small window built into one of the massive outer shutters. As we are so high up off the ground, when you slide the panel back, you can't see the ground nor the sky really. So what was its purpose? To spy on the neighbors? Well, I think I have a solution. Our little sundial is what you look towards, exactly. So this little window very may well have been installed as the easiest way to tell time from a 17th century clock. 

Neat, isn't it?


  1. What a superb topic for a post, H. This summer was the first summer that I paid attention to the shadows cast by the sun at particular times of day and it felt like a secret in plain sight I was tapping into.

    Love it, girl.

    1. Ah good. If I can give even the littlest woot back to you of all that you have given me lately, inspiring friend, well, then all is perfecto!

  2. The light on these extraordinary textures produces a magical effect.

    Then again, it's not just any photographer who can capture this...



    1. Thank you beautiful (literally) D but I have a long way to go before considering myself a photographer. Maybe one day!

  3. I do that in my street as well and the light changes with seasons as well. That's why I hate it when it is cloudy! Lovely pics Heather

  4. Heather, after seeing your beautiful photos and reading about light this time of year, I can't wait to have a closer look next time I'm outside. Thanks for tuning me into this. Love the little window in your shutter. May it -- and the cadran, stay there as long as possible.

  5. NEAT!That is an understatement!
    How Fabulous is that...............your own little ancient dial...........Oh, how I am living in the wrong country!I am just drying up over here!Good thing I am taking a GRAND JETE and coming your way soon........100 PIROUETTES just for YOU!!!!!!!!!!!I studied ballet for years!It was my desire to be a ballerina, but that didnot happen for other reasons..........

  6. Un cadran solaire....thank you Heather, and Remi.

  7. yes, September is a great month to be in Provence...Good pics too.

  8. A secret discovery! It's like prying open an undiscovered door into another place and another time and glimpsing a little of its private history! Hah! What fun! You will never look out that window and NOT see it now!
    Deborah from Melbourne.

  9. This incredible light you have in your region! Reminds me of the wonderful light on the Greek islands. It is not too bad here in the Périgord, but you are not only "a bit" more South-East, and as you're living in a big town, you are surrounded daily by old houses, while I'm living at the pure country side and have to drive around.....

    Dear Heather, just took my time to look all your posts, back into May! My goodness - You really see the world in detail with your heart and soul which is reflected in your images.
    To mention only a few:
    Love the post in July - Van Gogh, envie you that you can walk at his 'traces'!
    "The Forest walk" - it's like I would walk through my beloved Black Forest in Germany, so similar, amazing!
    "The Chapel Garden" - reminds me on the old cimetries here in our region....
    And last but not least:
    "Faces of La Fete de Gardians" in May: I can not tell you how much I enjoy it! Had already a look at the time but was not really in the mood for commenting, also because of my language "problem" But whenever I'm looking it again I feel as I'm right there.
    And the details in the second post: I can feel the textiles, the taffeta, the silk....I can here the "sound" of it! Simply wonderful and fabulous!
    As I said...with heart and soul!
    Tres amicalement, Karin

    Sorry for my lack of commenting, just some unexpected things came up here during the year. Things which demand my full attentio and concentration, so, I'm a bit out of the blog world, but trying to do my best.

  10. just wrote a kind of "marathon" comment which seems to be disappeared, yes? no??
    google is changing the goal posts by the day, it's driving my "banana".....k

  11. I almost thought the window leads to a parallel universe to the stage where a woman is singing.
    The shadow from the large iron hook points to the time when one can see the parallel universe in the other side.

    I always like your way of using angle and shadows in your photographs.

  12. A completely magical find and experience. And how lovely to have the light dancing towards the end of the day. Very special.

  13. I'm pretty sure that little window is for spying on your neighbors. Just kidding! How fun to discover that sundial!! I think you should take pictures of it and its shadows every hour and see what you come up with! Thank you for sharing yet another small/large pleasure/treasure!

  14. Such simple beauty. I love the little window onto time.

  15. Hey Elizabeth/"LaContessa"????.....

    Why in the world does it not surprise me in the least to hear that you studied ballet for years?

    ---david terry

  16. Just came back to listen to the music; gorgeous. I forgot to, yesterday.


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