Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shadows tracing out the light

Sometimes we need a bit of time in the shadows in order to better see the light all around us.

I'll admit to being a bit in the doldrums since my Sister left. I always am when family leaves after a visit.  Not only that ease of connection that I have already waxed rhapsodically about but also the promise of unforgotten memory (certainly for me who struggles with memory problems) that is luxury and love and home all rolled into one. Fortunately, I have a wonderful family here in Remi and Ben to understand such sadness, such missing without mistaking it for anything else.

And so I had my blinders on for a few days. Those of thought that cover all else. A moment of me not me. And yet, you guessed it, me nonetheless.

Swinging on a cello song for too long until...

...with a blink, a subtle shift from an outline to taking it all in again, like a big breath.

And how fortunate I am to live in Provence where the light will chase after you relentlessly until you love it back, like you should!

But it is not the only source. Sometimes even little gestures work wonders. My honey buying me flowers today. Not to mention such lovely folks on the internet that know how to do a person good. 

My friend Natalie gave me a little surprise yesterday, yet another blog award! Natalie always inspires me with the precision of her eye on Jewel yet to find. Isn't that the best name for a blog? And yes, she is very talented for searching out the beauty in both surprising places (as in her recent series on glass) and illuminating aspects of the well-known (such as her exceptional series on Guadi's Barcelona architecture). She is also incredibly generous in all of her well-thought out comments here, as many of you already know. Merci, Natalie!

And so on to the glamour of the day, Natalie awarded Lost in Arles the Sunshine Blog Award, one for  bloggers "who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere." Now, that made me smile for I get so much that is positive from all of you! 

Having excellent taste (ah-hem), Natalie chose so many of my fellow blog friends that I would have passed this award on to that I will need a moment to make my list. And so next week! We have good friends on the way to spend the afternoon with us followed by a yummy dinner and a movie party on the Rhone tomorrow. Looks like the sun is shining brightly again on this part of the world!

Wishing you all a wonderful, wonderful weekend...


  1. "The light chasing you..."

    How gorgeous, Heather.

    Your words and images are so evocative. (That first photograph is stunning - the colors and textures.

    So many metaphors around us. Et bon weekend à toi aussi.

  2. "Time in the shadows to see the light" that phrase is a keeper Heather. Too often I think we fight the shadows or disavow them in hopes of being in the sunlight, when maybe we should just experience them for what they are. . .and then emerge. Beautiful photos as always. And I can't think of a blog more deserving of The Sunshine Blog Award. Congrats to you!

  3. Dear Heather,
    This post is but one of many examples of why your blog was chosen for yet another award. Congratulations!

    Your text and photos capture exactly the mood when a loved one we see all too rarely departs or an incredible experience ends. I often feel this way after a visit or even a video chat with one of my sons.

    Thank you so much for bringing these intense thoughts and tiny details to life!

  4. I, too, live far away from family and am also familiar with that push/pull of expat emotions. Thank you for expressing so beautifully (in words and photos) the bittersweet feeling of reunion and separation.

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  6. Well said! Completely understandable that you miss your family, but what a wonderful adventure you are on! We are coming to Provence in September and looking forward to seeing some of the places that you so beautifully describe. Enjoy each moment!

  7. Heather, my dear friend, thank you for the kindest words and for your detailed e-mail with hands on ideas for my upcoming trip. The "to do list" is overflowing as it should be.
    I'll catch up with your blog as soon as I'm back, as I found myself unable to miss virtual conversations with you and this post yet another prove.
    Have a wonderful time with your friends.

  8. Your photos have touched a particular spot in my soul, filled with aged paint and plaster, portals and walls, in the shadows and in the light, very much like all of us as we age, touched by those memories and yearnings.
    You always touch my soul as you sure your travails...
    Thank you and congratulations.
    xoxo, Chris

  9. We all adore your blog. You deserve that award! You are so lucky to have a sister you are so close to! (as well as your immediate Remi and Ben)!

    Those colors send me right around the bend! Patina at its finest!

  10. You so well deserved some sunshine. I can relate to your feeling of loss. It is not easy saying goodbye. My life is filled with goodbyes, always between two continents. Mat the sunshine warm up your heart.

  11. Congratulations, Sister!! I am not surprised that your blog keeps winning awards - your words and photos make us all so happy! It's funny that you posted the cloud photo, as I recently told David about being blue and distracted for days (missing my sister, too, among other things). And when I knew I was coming out of it was the day I noticed how beautiful the clouds were - hard to do when your mind is spinning or sad! I love this post and you, and hope you had a fun day - a "movie party on the Rhone" sounds awesome!

  12. I'm happy the sun is shining for you again Heather... Congratulations on your award... so well deserved... xv

  13. I'm so glad you are in the light again, and so very glad for that first photo...that Citron, Tangerine, and Cool Gray, outlined with strokes of Charcoal will absolutely be in my next collection! Do you and your camera mind being the Muse?

    And of course you have an award-winning blog! Congratulations; and give Ben a hug from America...

  14. Heather, I love your blog and this post was just what I needed! As much as I struggle with my daughter and her husband not living nearby, I have learned to love where they live. It is such a struggle to not have those that you love more than life nearby! I'm so glad you are in such a beautiful place to live in and obviously have a very loving husband! I hope you had fun at your dinner tonight!

  15. Hey Miss Heather.....It's late at night here in North Carolina, of course....but I've just read this most recent posting (and the comments) for the second time today, and I have to say (might as well do it) that I wonder if you ever wonder, these days, "Am I an actress or a travel-writer or a photographer or a gallery-manager or sort of an artiste-generale or what or maybe ALL of those?".....

    ....take a compliment from a near-stranger....I've been reading your blog for almost two years now, and it's really unavoidably/strikingly obvious that working on "Lost in Arles" has forged a way for you to be/express all of those things. The blog's taken a distinct form and viewpoint. I've plowed through more than enough fusty master's theses and dissertations to recognize when someone (and this is rare) has hit her groove (so to's not a terribly "professional" term, but I mean it sincerely).

    In any case, thanks (once again) for lovely writing and photographs. You HAVE, all done and said, found your own, very distinct view and voice....which is pretty rare anywhere (don't ask me about my opinion of most "blogs"...the majority of which are, predictably enough, just self-indulgent nattering).

    I hope I'm not the first person to be hoping that, somewhere in your head, you're nurturing a notion of turning your experiences into a "real" book of your own. I expect it'd be very fine if you ever got around to writing it. the day you get around to doing it, I'll send you the names of folks who should see it.

    Admiringly (and, I hope, encouragingly),

    david Terry

    1. David, talk about rereading. I think I am on my fourth go at your response and I am still wrangling with how to begin to express what it means to me. Your timing can be so prescient as to be spooky--this isn't the first time--as is your understanding of the tides of confusion that are pulsing just underneath the keyboard and behind many camera clicks . Who am I again? And yes, having this blog has helped me in so many ways. I have been thinking about a book but it is something that is still in the tiny hope and blurry conceptless phase. Thank you for your offer and I most certainly will take you up on it, if a book every comes to fruition. Actually, just thank you for everything--maybe that is what I have been trying to say all along!

    2. Well, Heather, perhaps you should print out the folowing quotations and keep them pinned above your desk (I do). I'm not, as a very general rule, the sort who directs his days according to maxims and postcard-epigrams, but these are fine ones. The first was sent to me by an art critic, who had given my very first show (in 1996 or so) an astoundingly "good" review. I should emphasize that, at the time, I was teaching at duke University and had no idea of ever being anything other than an academic (which I was already beginning to dislike, after being in schools for twenty years). The second is from my French (as you'll know) mother-in-law, whom I really-really enjoy and admire a great deal. Both came on postcards that I framed and still keep above my desk....the only "daily quotes" I look at every morning.

      #1 (from the art critic): "It is never too late to become what you might have been"-----George Eliot

      #2 (from my mother-in-law): "Un homme qui n'est plus capable de s'emerveiller a pratiquement cesse de vivre" ("The man who has ceased to wonder has practically ceased to exist")----Albert Einstein

      Best wishes (and, just to give you another quotation, this time from a tennis-shoe company) Just DO It!

      ---david terry

  16. Hello everyone and thank you so very much for all of your incredible comments. I feel so lucky that you all are here. Merci, merci, mille fois merci...

  17. Gorgeous and thoughtful post, Heather. I understand those dark doldrums of the soul that sneak in from time to time, but I truly do think they serve to help us appreciate the brightness a bit better. Rebuilding times is how I regard them. But living in a beautiful place and the sunshine that the world and others can bring into our lives help ensure the gray days don't last long. Hope brighter times continue for you! Sending happy, sunny thoughts your way! XO

  18. PS - that first photo - it's like a painting. So lovely.

  19. The subjects in your photos are simple and yet you make them come alive and seem so lovely. And your words are enchanting.

  20. Hello Heather

    A powerful post. I love the light and shadows. The third image is spectacular. I know that feeling of missing a sister and close family member, following a visit. It is great that Ben and Remi understand. Congratulations on your award and well deserved.
    Wishing you a week of joy and sunshine

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  22. That first line is just what I needed to hear today! I've been in a bit of a funk myself the past couple of days and it's easy to spiral downward from there when in reality, there is so much light to be thankful for. xo

  23. Love these photos with all the colors and textures. An artistic visual feast! xo Jenny

  24. Oh lovely! I also just received this award from the beautiful Claudia of Paris Apartment ;-)

    It must be difficult living so far away from your family. I love to travel & my hubby & I have often thought about living abroad for some time, but I am so very close to my family... Not sure how I'd go...

    ~ Clare x

    1. Oh good! I would have passed it on to you but you were already on my previous list for you certain do bring tons of light, Miss Clare.

      I think being far away from family is something to think about if you are close but living overseas is an amazing experience. Worth weighing out, especially if you or your family have the means to visit often...and also to consider the timing of your parents age, etc. I wasn't there when my Dad passed and that was hard on me. But really, keep thinking about it!


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