Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Return to St. Hilaire d'Ozilhan, part two



Each year, the arrival of the Italians surprises me. The student groups, thirty strong, roam and conquer. Boisterous is the word that comes to mind. Physically and orally they take space, calling out to the dogs with arms thrown open wide like happy Pirandellos. For they are joyous in the up-bounce of Youth - that Spring signifier - and so different from the shuffling heads down ados, their French counterparts. 

The current look for the young men is a haircut that is a tragic accident between a mohawk and a flat-top. Their jeans are less baggy and they dance around, shadow-boxing in neon Nike high-tops. The ladies seem to be having a Sophia Loren moment with manes left long and curls thick. They walk forward, heads high, feet planted in hopelessly impractical shearling lined deck shoes. 

The Arena rings with the reverb of their jokes delivered, laughter lauded. Just a bunch of kids with the bounty of everything and the randomness of nihilism inside them, together. They wear it lightly. 

I'll admit it, in the past they have annoyed me, these giant swarms that don't part like the seas but move forward like a busy bee storm. Their past is our past and so Arles is taken acquis. But this year, I find myself sipping their energy through a split straw, knowing that in all likelihood I will be elsewhere when next year's groups come to surprise someone else. And me? I will be wrapping the scarf of quiet around and around and around, while gazing softly at the old and new.











A note to my Australian readers and friends as you are quite numerous. Would you be so kind to take a spare moment to visit my friend Jeanne's blog, Collage of Life? She is looking for a young man named Tom Healey and is calling for help on the internet. Merci! 

21 comments:

  1. Bella, Heather. I love the thought of taking energy that something that otherwise might annoy (will remember that the next time I am at the grocery store at a busy hour, or at Pike Place Market when the cruise ships are in.) Don't know what you paint a prettier picture with, your words or your photos. XOXO

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  2. I love that last part about wrapping the scarf around you. I feel like such a recluse sometimes but it suits me - most of the time.

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  3. Your description of the young Italians is perfect. The photos are exquisite. So much of that village reminds me of our very old place. The window in the first picture is exactly like ours, down to the numbers of panes of glass.

    And as for you wrappingyourself in quiet....of course. What a lovely goal.

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  4. Heather, I would absolutely love all those Italians. They all "live out loud" as you said. It's Italian! They cannot do otherwise, I know because I have a part of that Italian in me...albeit the loud part. I, too, become reclusive and introverted at times, especially when creating. You are planning a big move soon so the quietness solves many problems. xx's

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  5. Heather, that is one fine piece of writing. Aloha

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  6. with the world becoming increasingly similar, it's wonderful to celebrate the differences between cultures. Bravo for the variations, I say, we wouldn't want to be all homogenised, would we?

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  7. This is such a great post. I can almost see and hear the Italians. But your photos.... after a stressful day ... your photos are like that scarf of quiet, calming me down and relaxing the tense muscles. Thank you!

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  8. Heather, this was incredibly well-written.

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  9. Let me say 'ditto' to Bill's and Suze' observations above, one fine piece of writing!

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  10. Lovely words, lovely photos. The quiet in the photos contrasts beautifully with the energy of the Italians you write about.

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  11. I agree with Lorrie completely - loveliness all around!! (just like my sister....)

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  12. I thought you might be interested to see a post on Gurney Journey, James Gurney's blog for the stop-motion film, Starevitch's, "The Tale of the Fox" 1930s, in French. They are really a treat to watch. Amazing work for 1930.
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/03/1930-stop-motion-film-tale-of-fox.html

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    1. Thank you! I will take a looksee, sounds right up my alley!

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  13. Hi Heather,
    The emotions intertwine in leaving and arrival.Stories created and on the verge of creation. I have experienced them before. The memories were wonderful. Please don’t feel sad.
    The valley is sunny and warm.
    Enjoy your day.
    Edgar

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    1. Not sad, dear Edgar, more like bitter-sweet. We too have been through this before and are looking forward to a new start...

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  14. Their past is our past...and therefore we are a part of them. World get's more and more crazy not only the Youth and
    sometimes it is better to wrap deep in a scarf of serenity and quietness which I wish you will find soon in a new home.

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  15. Your words are so evocative and alive - I feel as though I can see and hear them.

    One of my sons is in Italy studying. I wonder what his response to the Italian students is...

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  16. I love the re-framing of the "boisterous" school group. I am going to try and take that to heart.

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  17. Thank you everyone for all of your kind words and wonderful responses! They came in so fast and furious this time around that I could hardly keep up!
    Bon Weekend...

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  18. I'm having the hardest time picturing the boys' hairstyles. Next time you see one, try and snap me a photo. I'm in credibly curious! x

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