It is funny the frustrating things that slow-motion blur into helpful, then hop into good in the long run.
I don't tend to expound too much on Kipling's rougher nature but it is something that we live with everyday. Our adopted dog was definitely beaten in his previous life and bitten too. So let's just say that he tends to strike first when in doubt. I have learned to be as careful as a CIA agent when out on our walks for good reason, certainly as many folks tend to just open up their doors and let their dogs roam unaccompanied in the South of France. I tighten my grip on his leash and scan the horizon; I pay attention to the snap of each twig breaking, ready for what might come up at the next turn in the bend. Frankly, it can be a little exhausting but it is just a part of love. And over months - certainly since we have moved out to this village - I have come to rely heavily on my instinct. I listen hard to that inner voice far more than I used to. It can be uncanny how a "Wait. No, stop here," has continuously averted potential dangers.
I trust my instinct.
And it serves me for light-hearted pursuits as well.
It was already late yesterday evening when I decided to ride my bike out to the garden. A big storm had been announced for today - yes, one that hit hard and had both dogs, including Kipling, hiding under my desk - and I wanted to make sure if there was anything that needed to come in. Remi had given me the black vintage bicycle for my birthday present. It needs huile somewhere up front - I am the veritable squeaky wheel - and so call my ride The Cricket. It was already wheezing heavily when I made a last minute right turn after la pharmacie to take the back road out. It is much longer, so much so that I had never ridden that path before but something had tugged me, go.
I weaved around speed bumps and passed houses spinning chimney smoke before bumping down a dirt path next to an apple orchard. Yes, it was good that I had come as there were several newly tumbled tomatoes to rescue. I didn't linger, the light was blooming. I pushed the pedals, rose up in my seat and caught my breath as I pulled up alongside the apple trees once more. Their perfume was calling me in a way that I had been too rushed to feel upon arriving. A smell that was far more complex than the rubber band word apple can convey, it was a song that ran from blossom to fruition. I stopped, awkwardly as I am still not confident on my bike and fished in my pocket for my camera, any modern testimony to something so time-worn and true.
Breathing in, breathing out fast, I cut across the pétanque court, wheels wobbling, light fading, straight to home, grateful for hearing and believing what I do.