Pay attention. Pay attention, nature seems to be saying to me as of late. Take in all the beauty surrounding you and within your life. All that costs nothing save for a little looking, hope and honesty. For as detached as I can sometimes feel as an American living in a small town like Arles, I am very fortunate to be connected to such beauty and to some pretty amazing human beings as well.
I will admit that I was as nervous as I was excited to see Wesley Fata again. It took me awhile to untangle why. True, Wesley is something of a legend. He danced under Martha Graham, was in the original Broadway production of "Hair" and then went on to teach movement at the Yale School of Drama for over thirty years, coaxing everyone from Meryl Streep to Angela Bassett to Liev Schreiber to inhabit their best selves. I know Wesley from my time there. He taught me more than anyone and saw something in me that he did his best to pull up and out. Luckily along the way, a friendship developed. A rarity, which I knew then and still do.
And yet he was incredibly supportive when I decided to change lanes by putting the unimaginably hard world of acting aside to have a life and a love in France. When he wrote last February that he would be spending a week in Provence this summer, my heart leapt! It is a rarity for me to have visitors from the States and more so from my "past life", one that has been largely buried under the new. No one here knows me in that previous context at all.
I launched into a lengthy exchange with Wesley's fantastic, brilliant partner Christopher to help make their planning as worthy as it could be. I can tell you, if I may be smug, that their itinerary--whether they stick to it or not--is a spectacular one (and anyone that would like ideas for future visits should not hesitate to ask). It was decided that we would meet the day after their arrival on the steps of Saint-Trophime church.
And here is where the nerves started to vibrate, but not for long. Because I have had an interesting life even if it is not the one that I had bargained for, a really good one. And at 41, it is more than beyond time to embrace that.
When I crossed the Place de la Republique and fell into his welcoming embrace, I knew that my worries had been for nothing. I have had the experience already in my life of seeing a friend after a long absence and picking up right where we had left off as if no time has passed but this was different. Because neither of us were exactly the same people that we had been before and yet we were still able to have that connection, moving forward. Yes I know, people are always changing but it can be surprising how many from our past want us to stay who we were, which leads to disappointment for all involved. Not the case here, at least on my part. Remi pulled out the stops yesterday evening for a dinner that could not have been lovelier. Out in the garden with the candles lit. Enjoying his stuffed cannette and squash gratin and fine, quiet conversation. Strolling through town afterwards and passing the gates of the church just in time to ring in what I hope is a very Happy Birthday for Christopher. Walking back to the house, my hand in Remi's, I felt lucky.
I couldn't stop giggling when I saw my face, a grinning Ben and my living room on the latest post of Brooke Giannetti's perennially inspiring blog, Velvet & Linen. What on earth was I doing there? Alongside the likes of famed interior designer Axel Vervoordt? Well, Brooke is heading over to this side of the pond with her entire family and we are hoping to meet. Though I must say that it is requiring Herculean efforts on her part to make it happen. Something I am very much aware of and have repeatedly begged her to let it go if it is just too complicated. We'll see. I don't need to meet her to know that she is a good egg through and through but it would be fun to make the jump from virtual to "Hello". And, I admit it, I would love for all of them to see just a tiny bit of this gorgeous region. Certainly now, right on the cusp before the heat starts to wilt the flowers that are gracing my friends gardens that I have featured here. We are making the most of this last month before we leave our own behind. Craning our necks upward to watch the martinets race through the same golden light that Van Gogh admired. It is right now. And perhaps always if you want it. Full bloom.