Friday, March 30, 2012

Blossoms at Les Baux

I didn't think much about spring before living in Provence. In New York there was just a sort of animal pressure of instincts awoken but not connected after a long winter. In Paris, well, there was rain and gray shining tin rooftops. Puddles seeping in the sides of shoes. 

But here, here one can believe in spring. Reborn, shake off your shoddy skin and risk a lot kind of feelings. Because it is everywhere, all around and it would be unwise not to echo. Only an utter grouch is capable of being impervious to such a slow unfurling of beauty's palm.

On just another evening a few weeks ago, we followed the siren song out into the country to take a second gander at a field that had appeared a soft pink blur in passing. A field that we had passed hundreds of times but apparently never, ever at just the right time. For what grew up and around us soon made us forget that we could have ever seen it otherwise. 

The perfume. Enough to make you fall down into the many random sinkholes dotting the property. Belly-buttons of the earth but best to pay attention. Listen to the advice of the bees buzzing all around in fine feast form.

Let the light whither, I am safe here to dream. Let it go so that I can sleep and wonder what better ways might lie in front of me?

All calm. Treasures in the palm of a fallen blossom, lift your head to the wind. 

Winding away but with petals in my pocket, we watched the sun bow down to kiss the buds goodnight.

Bon weekend! 

Reading for the weekend

Hello there and hooray! Why the little whoop whoop you may ask? Well, it has been the polar opposite to last weeks sadness here in Arles. 

For my French friends amongst you, I wanted to give a little head's up as Remi has two interesting stories out that might be worth a looksee. We are both delighted that he has a portfolio in the brand new magazine Le Figaro Histoire. Remi's photography showcases some of the finest treasures that were discovered in the Rhone River and are currently featured in a wonderful exhibition at the Louvre until the end of June. 

I was fortunate enough to assist on many of these photo shoots and really saw how Remi treated these Roman masterpieces as portraits. My little photos don't begin to do the publication justice. It is beautifully printed and I wish the magazine continued success in the future!

And if that isn't exciting enough, he also had a six page spread in Le Pélerin last week so that might still be on news stands as well--you never know! This also concerned the recent archeological digs in the Rhone and we were really delighted with the photos that they chose for the story.


And for the many of you not in France? "Hey, what about us?" Now, now no need to get cranky as I have a recommendation for English readers too!

Several of you might know of the lovely Chris from her generous and beautifully written comments both here and around the blogosphere. Imagine my utter delight in receiving a present from her! And it was the most beautifully wrapped present I believe that I have ever received...

...and apparently the best smelling one too! Ben would not stop sniffing the flowers. Ben, those are fake you silly goose! 

As loathe as I was to unwrap such a parcel, curiosity got the better of me. Inside, I discovered a novel that looks right up my alley: "The Lantern" by Deborah Lawrenson. Not only does it take place in our beautiful Provence but it is apparently "Everything you could want in a gothic mystery that doesn't also include a heroine named Jane Eyre"--whaaaa? That is exactly the book that I am currently rereading! It's kismet! 

Thank you as well, Chris for the incredibly kind words that you wrote in the card regarding this blog. I know that I say it all the time but I feel so fortunate to know you all! 

PS. Ben may not know how to read but he sure does know how to communicate...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bits and pieces

Hmmm. Today's post is just a little thing, a mere will o' the wisp. But I wanted to share some things that have been making me happy lately:

That the flower guy threw in a big bouquet of flowers with my roses. Just because. What are those flowers called anyway? My Mom and I both thought of "anemones" and then said at the same time "but wait, aren't those sea creatures?"--we crack ourselves up.

That we finally hung up the Gobelin panel and it looks great. And that it was worth the carry-on back pain to haul back the cream cable throw and pillow (I suppose I am officially off my pillow detox now)  from the Ralph Lauren outlet in the States (and no I didn't use them on the flight back. No bedroom pillows onboard!).

Due to the generosity of my florist, who may or may not have a crush on me, we even have flowers in the bathroom, where Remi thought to put out the maritime watercolor that he found in a tiny shop in New Brunswick. 

That my dog makes me laugh Hard.

That, upon hearing joyful shrieks outside of my window, I looked out and watched a waddling parade of mini-pirates, princesses and geishas stroll by, all dolled up for Carnival.

That freesias smell like the clouds of Heaven.

There you have it! And you? Anything making your heart go "hip, hip, hooray" today?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sacred spring

It has been an odd week and I feel chopstick rattled. Certainly, the killings in Toulouse and the following aftermath are a large part of it. 

My heart goes out to all that lost loved ones and friends in those horrendous acts. 

Such destruction is a terrible counter to all of the life springing up around us. 

Better then to escape for a few moments by returning to the Chapelle de St. Martin, or more precisely, to the sacred spring just down the hill behind it. I want to lower my brow into its crystalline waters to pull out this weeks violence like a sieve. 

To slow down, to breathe longer and deeper. Certainly that is the state that I was in while gazed into the sacred source, one treasured for its offerings for at least a thousand years. Honored with offerings by civilization after civilization. I traipsed, one foot in front of the other, across the well-worn stones lining the pool to its far end. There, three steps lead down to a spout of the water, diving down into the ground to nourish the fields beyond. 

Being at Remi's side during years of assignments and adventures, waiting with him as he finds the right light for his photography has at times been a true challenge for me. I fidget, I stamp, I sigh loudly. All to no avail. So finally, I give up, give in and sit down. 

And then start to take a look around...

There can be great beauty in such moments. When I stop projecting myself forward to be right exactly where I am. Just as by getting infinitely small, we expand with a sigh of the skies. Nothing new in that.

Wherever you happen to be and no matter what your week has been, I am sending out all my best for the weekend ahead. Just in hopes that you may have a few minutes to take a good look around you and appreciate the very fine view.