Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can you hear it?

Can you hear it? No, not the peaceful munching of the lambs. Listen closer...

Olé...olé...OLÉ!! The flamenco guitars are rising to a crescendo. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, it is already that time of year again, the Easter bullfights or La Feria de Paques. Think that a bit of a dichotomy? Yes, I do too. But rather than philosophize, Remi and I are going to take the high road and..."Run, better run, faster than my bullet"... straight of out of Arles and dive into The Quiet of the Luberon.

While our previous cabanon had already been reserved I let my fingers do the walking and found what I believe will be an equally charming option right outside of the little village that I dearly love. 

Can I hear a hooray?

I may be exchanging bunny hopping golden light for a drizzle of gray. The Sun Will Set but me cares not. Not one whit. I have a stack of books and a demanding nap schedule to adhere to. Light a fire in the fireplace, pour a glass of wine...these Foolish things remind me of you.

So, I am going to take a bit of a breather (save for perhaps a By Invitation Only post on Tuesday, internet service permitting)...but promise to come back with stories to tell... to pack up the puppers...

...and take flight.

Because can you hear it? The road is calling...

For all of you that are celebrating, I wish you a very Happy Easter and an Excellent Passover!

PS. And as if I haven't left you with enough links to explore while I am gone, here is one more an exceedingly charming interview on France 3 with Nancy Kate, the blogueuse behind the hilarious blog Bread is Pain.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lost in the looking

I haven't felt like talking much and so it goes that I haven't felt much like writing either. Opening up the drawers of my desk, I look to see if there are any extra words laying around, in the bottom, in the corners and find only perfume vials and paper clips. It is not sadness, nor its opposite, just quiet. I close the drawers and let my gaze rise out the window like a balloon escaping a tiny fist. The clouds are lazy. 

They drag behind the beat of the guitar strum of the homeless man who is sitting on the sidewalk just to the right of our front door. I say homeless but I don't know if that is true, SDF in French or Sans Domicile Fixe. He was there yesterday evening as well, drinking a beer and asking about the dogs. He used the polite "vous" form and wished me a pleasant evening. In turn I offered that he would have Bon Courage with the rain. Which is gone today. So perhaps that is why he is playing.

Remi walks past my desk and the orchids near my screen shake their hearts with each step. How thin these old floors are, how differently built. We must have sounded like elephants to the family that lived below. But now they've gone and we have the building to ourselves. Which feels both luxurious and isolating, the space that contains us. Luckily, we have the country so close at hand, the land where we can keep walking and often in silence. I don't have to find the words to express the precision of such beauty. Cowboy rope mountains, twilight petals. I can get lost in the looking. We all have our internal answers, those without syllables that we just know. What comfort that brings. It sings.

Have a wonderful wag of a week, everyone...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Detroit Urbana, Part two

Detroit continues.

Even if an Emergency Manager has been brought in and there are persistent rumours of the city declaring bankruptcy. 

I was literally overwhelmed by all of your comments regarding my previous post in this series.  How to begin to respond? I admit, I felt defeated in the face of something I am grappling to understand but it would seem that the people of Detroit aren't down for the count just yet. 

*Update: I am really thrilled to be working with the amazing D. A. Wolf again today on her fantastic blog, Daily Plate of Crazy. So if you are looking for a Provence fix, you can find it here!*

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cooking for yourself, part 2

Feeling cheated by the arrival of "spring"? Um hum, I hear you. 

There are a fair amount of mopers around these parts as well. Why? Ah, you see the puppers were in a tizzy because leur maître, Remi, was out of town for a few days and so they were stuck with...sigh...the No big romps in the country. Oh, the utter sadness of sofa surfing and resting weary heads on velvet pillows...

I also felt a touch out of sorts but not exactly for the same reasons. You see, when you spend as much time together as Remi and I do, when one of us suddenly goes missing it is as if an arm had been misplaced. I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for it too. However, one way in which I let my "freedom" sing is in the kitchen

Now I love to cook, don't get me wrong, even in the truly closet-like "turn around and there you are" space in our current apartment. It is the "what" that tires me. As I often cook for both lunch and dinner, that is a whole lot of menus to scramble. So when Remi is gone, I don't think, I copy. Things like the really perfectly balanced goat cheese, radish and arugula "tartine" (I used Wasa crackers instead for the crunch factor) drizzled with fruity olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt from La Tartine Gourmande (minus the endamame--again, Trader Joe's how I long for thee!). Or my version of Ella Coquine's "Italian Girl Stir Fry" aka "Pasta sans Pasta".

It goes a little something like this: chop broccoli into florets, slice up red papers, prepare cooked chick peas. Sauté all of the above with a sliced onion and several cloves of garlic plus more spices than you can shake a stick at (chipolte, cayenne and ancho pepper? Uh, yup), add in enough coulis de tomates to coat, top with a blanket of melted emmenthal and then plop down in front of the most unapologetically girly American movie, because you can.

It was so good that I did exactly that two nights in a row.

And if that doesn't warm you up (and it will)...?

Find a buddy to cuddle up to and hold on. No matter what might be happening outside of your window right now, the real deal is right around the corner.


Speaking of Ella, she recently wrote about tracing the path of her jazz vocalist Grandmother, Stella Levitt, who was an established artist in Paris for several decades. Frankly, this story is too fascinating not to pass on, so here is the link. The same can be said for the incredibly unique voice attached to it, so take a listen and see if that doesn't make your heart take flight. It did mine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wishing in a rainstorm

"I got it!" I stared at the screen on the back of my camera. An extra blink to be sure and yet there it was, a frozen bolt of lightning. Remi and I laughed. It seemed lucky, crazily lucky, somehow.

We had turned back swift as sparrows as a rainstorm ruined our afternoon ramble. It approached swiftly with pelts of rain on the windshield in a "Ha. Ha. Ha." The clouds billowed heavier than smoke and yet, when we saw the little cabanon perched at the end of a field of wizened vines, we had to explore.

How different it must have looked in other times. Big tree giving shade to workers dipping handkerchiefs in the well.

We peeked inside to discern...wire traps for the creek running below, freshly cut wood and a forgotten chair that once gave relief.

The frame of an iron tonnelle bended with forgetting.

And I couldn't help but wonder, why oh why in France is the horseshoe always the wrong side down?

No wonder this poor little cabanon was ill-used. Perhaps we could look up the proprietaire, rent it out, fix it up and then it would be our get-to for the weekends?

You know us and how we like to dream.

But the rain pressed on and worryingly while the wind sucked the oak leaves upwards in spirals. "This is a bad storm coming, Remi." I knew it in my bones. You can't grow up in the Midwest and not have a feeling for that sort of thing. So back we scuttled as the rain pelted, turning eventually to hail.

Pop rocks that would burst our momentary daydreams but not let them be forgotten. The country is calling and I am listening...

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Detroit Urbana

 I can here the question mark in your head. But I have a series of photos that I took in Detroit that I would like to share even though it is a subject far from the usual fare at Lost in Arles. 

I was moved by my brief time in the Motor City. The push pull energy while questioning, bitter bites of decades decay and small nickel tokens of hope raising up like flags of non-surrender. 

It is an American dilemma. 

There are a whole lot of symbols out there.

I have two more posts that I will share, also on the weekends. Food for thought, food for compassion hopefully. But if it is not your cup of brew, there is no judgement in that too.

Wishing you all well. Let's keep our eyes open.