Friday, May 29, 2015

Better than bijoux, part deux



Or...it takes a village.

Remi has been gone for the past week and so I have been holding down the fort by myself along with the puppers. Except that I haven't been alone and certainly not lonely.

For while, when I lived in Paris or Arles and this same situation would occur, I would initially be showered with various invitations that would only be followed up with unapologetic "So how did your week(s) go?" afterwards. Not so in this tiny Provençal village.

Here, I was immediately invited over to a lovely tea in a jasmine lined courtyard, given rides to public transportation so that I could get to two of my guided walks, taken to a resplendent flower show and spoiled with a very fine lunch of pastilla and fresh mint tea. All of it in great company. 

The relatively few people that I know took the task of making sure that I was well quite seriously and yet did it with such gracious ease that I never felt like I was being a burden. It made me feel a part of this little community as did my daily salutations from my fellow gardeners. When you have moved around as much as I have in life, that is not a little feat. 

And yet I was left wondering...Isn't this how it should always be? Or has such consideration fallen widely into the derogatory sense of "old-fashioned"? I have a hunch that it comes down to a question of time - which tends to swing slowly in these parts - and priorities.

Regardless, I am left holding one certainty in the palm of my hand. It is carved with the word "kindness" and yes, that is something that is most certainly better than bijoux.





Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. May wonderful things bloom for you...


PS. I hope that those of you who left comments on my previous post will pardon my not responding individually as I usually do. The Mistral winds finally stopped after 16 days straight - sixteen days of howling winds! In May! Unheard of! - and so I have been lured away from the computer screen to play outside once again. My head still feels as though it is comprised of a big bag of rolling marbles!


33 comments:

  1. Heather there is nothing in the world like friends who are so graciously and kindly there for you!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!
    Xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Coco Chanel: Three Weeks

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    1. Thank you Karena, wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

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  2. Kindness, Amen.

    Simple, but takes practice.

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    1. I know that I am preaching to the choir as far as you are concerned, Joan. ;)

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  3. Ah, how lovely to be cared for. Kindness means so much.
    Gorgeous peonies. Mine are blooming today, too, blowsy in the sunshine. I hope you are enjoying the reprieve from the Mistral and good times outdoors! Bon weekend.

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    1. Lorrie, I would love to plant them here next year in our courtyard. There is a special heirloom variety in the village - the blooms only last ten days but they are spectacular!

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  4. Yes, kindness and one's time freely given are both gifts and sometimes are all too rare. I am so glad that you are finding yourself more and more "at home" in this new community. Your peonies are gorgeous. Mine are still closed in tight little balls. Also, I'll be thinking of you over the next few days as Paul and I are flying out to Detroit -- sadly, there was a death in his family.

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    1. Judith, I am so sorry for Paul's loss. I wish so much that you were visiting the D for another reason. My thoughts are with you both.

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  5. What a lovely post and a great way to start the weekend, Heather! Oh if only there were a little more kindness and generosity to go around, but I am so glad that they came your way in such a genuine manner. Wishing you a beautiful Mistral-free week-end~

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    1. Thank Goodness it is OVER!!! I thought that Mistral would never end. And I agree, bring on more kindness and generosity! Although I feel really grateful to have been on the recieving end of so much of both as of late.

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  6. It sounds like you are really in the right place!!! So glad your neighbors have taken you under their wings!

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    1. After so many years of living anonymously in big cities, it really is quite a change... ;)

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  7. Ouch, my head feels sore just reading your description of a bag of rolling marbles. Continue to bloom beautifully in the good care of your community.

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    1. Thank you, dear G. It took a few days for the marbles to settle down but they have...

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  8. We are also having an introduction to village life and the gifts of friendship that far surpass what we know back in the states. You described it beautifully ~

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    1. Oh, I am so behind in what is going on with your new life in Greece! I have to go see...

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  9. It's wonderful to live in a place where such 'old fashioned' values are still taken so much to heart. Glad you have friends who care for you so much.

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    1. There are some aspects about life in this part of Provence that can be a little too "old-fashioned" for me but kindness is something that I am really happy about! ;)

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  11. As it should be. Sounds like an unexpectedly lovely week. Hope your head has cleared.

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    1. Jackie, I have to say it was such a lovely surprise - and thank you, the marbles have been put to rest!

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  12. Nothing to add but a big smile :-) xx

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    1. And I am sending one Northward right back!

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  13. Ah, kindness. It occurs to me that kindness can reflect a person who is at peace - do you know what I mean? Sometimes people are too preoccupied (with the self, really) to be kind - busy, depressed, worried, angry. So not on purpose, but just it brings the focus in instead of out. Don't know if I mentioned this, but on my recent trip to NYC, I felt cheerful and with my new mid-western friendliness. Well, do you know what? Every single interaction I had while there was a friendly and pleasant one! Every one! This from the town I deemed the most unfriendly in the world when I lived there. Methinks now that perhaps I played a part..(um, perhaps??). Also a discussion with David about this triggered a talk about simplicity in one's life, and the calming effects of that (can inspire kindness, too). At any rate, I'm so glad that people were kind to you while Remi was away, and thanks, also, for the beautiful flower pics! Le sigh!

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    1. Sister, you are so amazing - yes, this is exaaaactly what I meant by time and priorities but you put it far more gracefully than I! And I love that you had that shift in perspective about NYC from your trip there. I remember that any time that I made the effort to be smiley at the cashiers at Red Apple (and it was an effort!), some little doorway of something good would open. I need to think about what you wrote about simplicity=calming=kindness - I love that.

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  14. I learned that "offering something without taking” is your community of friends and kind people. A “certainty” just like opening your hand.

    I did not realized mistral could last so many days.

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    1. Edgar, I have never experienced anything like it in the ten years that I have lived in the South. Everyone was truly cranky by the end of it! It has a definite effect on people's mental states - a bit like a suped up Santa Anna winds in your part of the world.

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  15. The simple grace of small gestures are precious jewels indeed.

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    1. Gillian, that was one lovely sentence you wrote there! My goodness...

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  16. What a lovely reminder of how important our human connections are. I recall days of these neighborly tendencies even while living in big cities. Sadly, I think we're stressed and stretched these days, it's all too easy to lose touch, when in fact we might benefit tremendously from these acts of kindness.

    xo

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    1. Absolutely D, both in the giving and in the receiving...

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  17. Hello Heather,
    We have made our annual migration to the mountains...and the weather is lovely. High winds get to me after awhile. I truly can't imagine sixteen days.

    That is so nice that your friends nurtured you in Remi's absense . I am a bit shy and unsure of myself so I hesitate to initiate like invitations. I should work on that. ...Janey

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    1. I can't say anything Janey as I am shy too and am seldom the inviter! But all of the kindness I received really made me want to change that.

      Am so very happy to hear that you are up at your mountain house - enjoy!!!

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