Monday, May 23, 2011

Cricket Symphony

Remi and I went looking for inspiration yesterday late afternoon. Nap-deprived, we both felt the weight of Summer's first wave of humidity. But were off to a fail-safe destination, one that always cheers me--the Depôt-Vente in Eygalières. Call it a consignment shop for antiques and bric-a-brac, somehow there is always something that catches our eye. The owners of the regal stone farmhouses in the area, one of the wealthiest in the Alpilles, are often willing to cast off porcelain and paintings for a song. And it is hardly a secret. The parking lot was so full that we had to squeeze into a spot that wasn't. Immediately after, a finger-wagging woman shot out of the shop--"You can't park there!". Now, the Depôt-Vente is run by a lovely gay couple who know us by name and welcome us with bisous, not because we are big buyers but because we have always gotten along. The wagger chased us down until Remi gave up and manoeuvred the Range Rover into a precarious spot that also wasn't but that pleased her. I often have to struggle against the "expert" attitude in France but wagging is outright rude and I couldn't soothe my ruffled feathers, even after the owners came out from the back and explained that their friend was just trying to help. And with antiques hunting, you have to will the good pieces toward you. There is no room for crankiness. We left with nothing, not even ideas for our new apartment. Time to try another path.

Remi pulled over and parked in a corner of the country that we had always remarked upon but had never explored. It was already starting to get late, the sun was tired. Ben leapt from the back and turned in circles, his back feet swishing into the air like a rabbit. He lead us up, through fields of genévrier, juniper bushes glowing against blue-black pines, past the tracks of a sanglier, or wild boar, towards the summit. 

The hills outside of Eygalières remind us both of the "backs of the dragon" that we love outside of Huê in Vietnam. There is something Asian as well in the heavy layering in the plants and minerals that shift the senses in sight, smell and touch. Remi gathered up bouquets of rosemary and thyme, I slid across the rocky terrain in a pair of poorly chosen Prada mules, Ben lifted his nose to the wind. From the grandeur of the horizon to the microscopic spiders clambering over the purple bud of a flower. Best to stop talking for awhile and just take it in.

And to just let my head be drained enough of sound to hear, as we descended back to the grasslands and the light sifted into flour, a symphony of crickets warming their bows for the evenings recital. These are not yet the monstrous, hysterical cigales that are a symbol of Provence. No, they are still sleeping. May is the time of the simple cricket. The one of your childhood that you held in your palm. And yet, as their vibrations were joined by hundreds of others, they gave me the inspiration that I was looking for. Not in any concrete form, nothing that I can put on a shelf. Invisible yet resoundingly true.


  1. Hello Heather:
    And we are left wondering. Oh, how tantalising is this?!!

    Such a day. How dreadful to be the subject of finger wagging for we are none of us children and why, in any case, should it be acceptable for them? So very, very rude and we are sure that your friends, the owners, would have been just that little bit embarrassed but then they cannot be responsible for the behaviour of another.

    We were fascinated that the distant terrain should resemble and remind you of the countryside of Vietnam. So very beautiful. We do not know at all the Far East and so it is good to be given an impression. Once more we marvel at the beauty which surrounds you in your part of France.

    And now, amid so much loveliness, we are back with the crickets, and the inspiration of which there is no telling!!

  2. Heather, you, Ben and Remi certainly know how to enjoy yourself even with the simple melody from a cricket. Ours won't be out for a while yet but every evening we get serenaded by what we call peepers….frogs. So called peepers around here since that’s the sound they make, peep, peep, peep only in unison of hundreds!

  3. Thank you so much you two. Your continual support is so very appreciated!

    Les H's, I will try to do a post on the story that we did in Vietnam. It was quite an experience--up the Mekong River in a colonial style boat from Saigon to Siem Reap! There is an innate elegance in South East Asia that is right up your alley.

    And Debra, don't they drive you crazy? Isn't it a gentle peep or a bull-froggy burp? I couldn't stand that! ;)

  4. Oh my goodness I wished I could here that sound of the cricket right now!!
    You are so lucky to live in that gorgeous piece of earth!

  5. I mean ... I could "hear"...
    Excuse me !!!

  6. The things you say, the stories you tell.. transporting. Thinking of you, your rooftop evening and your crémant. btw, my brief encounter with the French is that they have a well honed ability to divest you of your ego, which, on more than one occasion has left me to wonder if the Dali Lama wasn't an American tourist visiting Paris in another life.

  7. I love that Depot Vente too and often call in....I have found many treasures there too.... Beautiful shots of the Alpilles...of course I am biased! xv

  8. Oh Greet, of course I knew what you meant and was just so happy for you to stop by. Your blog is just so wonderful.

    Trace, ooh long evening. Wish you had been there. Well said.

    Vicki, It is so lovely to see you here. Not sure if you will see this but we took our walk where all of those handsome pompiers hang out during the day during the Summer on the D24 heading towards Le Destet from Eygalierès. Do you know that spot? So gorgeous.


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