Monday, August 26, 2013


There are words that, after all of this time in France, still twist between my tongue when speaking or dart out of reach when typing. Abracadabrant, is one. I casually tossed out to my Mom that I was pretty sure that it meant something along the lines of "everything but nothing at the same time." However, Wiktionary swung me wildly back to Planet Earth by declaring, rather, "ludicrous, preposterous." Oops. Or as the French say, "oups." Perhaps those two definitions are not so entirely far a part from each other in the immaterial dreamloop that I have had on repeat as of late?

And yet it was with feet solidly on the ground--one two, one two, huphuphup--that Remi, the puppers and I went for a rather lengthy hike in the hills of the Alpilles yesterday evening. The clouds were playful and I was grateful for the shapes of shade and the cooling wisps of...silence. I have become convinced that we are suffering from noise poisoning in our apartment in the center of Arles. One that somehow trumps my former residence off Time Square for it's determined non-stoppedness. Not so in the Alpilles, especially along the paths of this inconnu corner far from all... for one truly envy-inspiring home with an eagle's nest view and an infinity pool that I seriously considered walking down and falling in to. Would they mind? Probably. I kept walking.

How I love the tug between above and below. 

As we climbed, the olive groves smeared into Seurat dots, marbles rolling across a plain.

We zig-zagged over the trail, ankles wobbling dangerously, dogs panting noisely...

...until we reached the upper crest, at such an altitude that sprigs of wild lavender had sprouted, surprising us with their smoky sweet scent.

Quieted, I saw a landscape that was preposterous in its beauty. Abracadabrantesque? Absolutely.

Just like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. 


Now, while my vocabulary might be as slippery as an eel, there are times when I know EXACTLY what I am saying and this would be one of them, so please do gather 'round and listen up. 

I believe that most of you that have been reading here for some time get as big of a kick out of the comments and stories left by David Terry as I do. But have you ever clicked over to discover what a truly unique and wonderful artist he is? If not, there has never been a better time to do so. You see, the lovely Sharon Santoni of the exceptional blog My French Country Home is offering a giveaway of one of David's portraits, to be commissioned by the winner. 

Remi and I are the proud owner of three of David's works and I can assure you that they are far more beautiful in person that his website can portray. As his pieces can sell for up to thousands of dollars, this is quite an opportunity. So what are you waiting for? 

To enter (and see the portrait of Ben and Kipling that Sharon included in her post), please click here.
To discover David's work, please click here.

But do hurry, I believe that you only have until next Saturday.


Have a wonderful week everyone...


I Dream Of said...

Heather, abracadabrant is a fantastic word - it sounds like something out of Harry Potter, and I think it should mean something around the idea of "how I wish I could abracadabrant myself back to Provence and join you on this amazing walk." How gorgeous. And the portrait of Ben and Kipling? Amazing. David Terry is such a talent. It's mind boggling, really.

I hope you are enjoying the last week of August and that things quiet down a bit with réentrée. XOXO

Judith Ross said...

Hi Heather,

What an amazing walk. How I would love to join you. But that house.... is it an optical allusion or does it only have a facade, no roof or other walls besides the front? Definitely falls under the category of "everything but nothing all at once... ludicrous, preposterous...."

As for the French Country Home giveaway, I've already entered. Don't suppose it would be fair to enter more than once!

La Contessa said...

A fabulous giveaway by SHARON but I'm already in the line up!I saw what he had done with your two BABES and Sharons too!I recognized all of them immediately!His art work looks like photographs to me!Very talented and I do believe you two have met?Lucky you................

Unknown said...

Do you remember the use of "abracadabra," an ancient incantation to invoke magic, in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and, in a slightly different form as I recall, in the Harry Potter books? Thank you for introducing me to its French relative.

I'm glad you found some silence...and went high enough to see wild lavender. Heavenly combination! I hope the noise outside your home quiets with autumn. I used to love the surrounding sounds of the city when I visited my urban grandparents, but now I thrive on the silence of the place where I live and work. Sanctuary has become very important.

I've long enjoyed David Terry's comments here and on other blogs, and I always look forward to my weekly visit to his website. Have you met him?

Take care of your ears, Leslie in Oregon

david terry said...

Oh, Heather....thanks, of course, for the compliments, but I've got to say that I know that my mother would disapprove of your slinging them about so freely.

She's 75 these days, but still quite beautiful (not that she's ever given a thought to the matter since the days when she was growing up in a Tennessee orphanage). When I and my two brothers were still very young, we'd regularly receive (since we do, after all LOOK like her, more or less) compliments....along the lines of "What HANDSOME little men!" or "Aren't these just the CUTEST boys you've got here!!!!".

We always hated those encounters with strangers, knowing that, within about three seconds,, our mother's hands would close-in on our skinny shoulder blades in what we called "The Dr Spock Grip"....and she would smile pleasantly before skeptically announcing "Well....just as long as they BEHAVE well....right, boys?"

Consequently, we're all a bit wary of compliments (me in particular, since I can't necessarily claim to be at all well-behaved, these days). I should add that we all adored our mother.....but she was not one for spoiling her boys.

To answer a previous question?.....Heather and I have never met in person; we've just been corresponding for three or so productive years. I've done that with various folks (John Denver, among them, and I kid you not) since I was pubescing in small-town East Tennessee back in the 1970's. In person, I'm actually rather shy, or so I'm told.

Symmetrically enough?....Heather and Mister Remi have 3 of my pieces in their home in Arles, and Herve&I have three of Remi's pieces in our home in North Carolina.

Enough for now.....

----david terry

simpleimages2 said...

"Abracadabrant": The art works of David Terry can be placed side by side with your photos. Impressive.

D A Wolf said...

"Preposterous in its beauty."


And incidentally, nice piece in the Sunday Review section of the NYTimes on the need for silence... With you on the non merci to noise pollution!

david terry said...

Dear "simple images2".........It's more than a bit amusing to read your comment "The art works of David Terry can be placed side by side with your photos. Impressive."

I should make it very clear that, actually, I've USED ("Stolen"?) Heather's photographs for at least five of my paintings (including the portraits of her dogs, whom I've never met in person, so to speak). Now...she does know about this, but the fact remains that her photographs were the source material.....and I did very little beyond painting what she'd already seen.

Heather always says "I just point and click. It's the light that's magical".

I disagree with her. The light is, indeed lovely thereabouts, but that's not enough to explain away why her photographs are so often so evocative/beautiful.

I recently used one of her also-recent photographs for a techincal exercise. Go to:

Heather graciously replied, when I asked if the photograph was from her or Sharon Santoni's blog, that it was "hers"......but that I'd now made it mine. I thought that was an extremely generous and gracious response------no wonder she's a good artist.

----david terry

robin said...

Ooooo - so much to love in this post! Such beautiful photos - my favorite is the mountain with the clouds that are inversely proportionate! (did I say that right?). And love the lyrical prose. I can vouch - your home in Arles is SO LOUD!!! It's an acoustical nightmare! And DA Wolf is right - you should read the article from the Sunday Times - I just skimmed it but it is right up your (noisy) alley. Lastly - David Terry's paintings are SO beautiful!!! I love the one of Ben and Kipling - do you own it? You are sweet to promote him, too! Thank you for another beautiful post!

Heather Robinson said...

Oooh, I agree! If you could do that little nose wiggle like Tabitha and poof! be wherever your heart desired, now that would be quite something!

And of course a wonderful artist like yourself would appreciate David's work. No surprise there.
Hoping you are adjusting to being back home and wishing you a wonderful week too.

Heather Robinson said...

All is fair in love and war!

And the house is perched on a hill that drops deeply on the other side--that is why it looks like that. :)

Heather Robinson said...

No, we haven't yet met but might as well have. Sometimes I have to remind myself that we haven't!

Heather Robinson said...

Oh we are really at our limit, Leslie. It is a shame because this is a lovely apartment that suits our needs very well but there is no way that we can stay here. Truly, there is a woman talking on her cell phone in the street below and I can hear every word as if she were in the room!! Arrrhh! It felt so wonderful to just have quiet on our walk. I crave it now!

Heather Robinson said...

Well, as much as I tend to sound gushy as a Pollyanna, I never give a compliment that I don't mean with my whole heart. My Mom was also strict with us, most certainly about two things: manners and honesty.

And David, don't think for a second that we don't appreciate that symmetry nor all of the support and kindness that you have shown both of us.

Who knows what kind of interesting or witty comment that I coughed up on Dominique Browning's beautiful blog to get you to find me here but I am so glad that happened...

Heather Robinson said...

It looks like David beat me to the punch in responding, Edgar but I do think that one of the reasons why he and I get along so well has to do with a similar way of appreciating our surroundings.

Heather Robinson said...

Oooh, will take a look as I truly meant noise "poisoning"--I don't want to sound too wacky but it really is making me...not well. It is a constant interference that keeps me from being at ease. Thanks for the suggestion and the compliment.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you David but as I have said previously, whenever you transform one of my photos it becomes something far more beautiful than I could achieve, not to mention it solidifies into something that LASTS. So please do borrow away, I take it as a fine, fine compliment.

Heather Robinson said...

You are welcome, Sister!!! And oh, David deserves far more than a little link or two at the end of a post called "abracadabrant"!! There is nothing preposterous about what he does, no matter how I might try and be silly with the word!

And do you remember when you were here and I wanted to dump a bucket of water on the hair salon's rave party below?? Hehehe....
I love you Sister!

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

Heather your pictures are quite beautiful ... and what a long way you walked! No wonder your ankles were wobbling :)
Surely you could have dreamt up an excuse to knock at the door of that house, what an amazing setting.
Thank you for the shout out for the giveaway, David's picture of Ben and Kipling asleep is one of my favourites

love to you



silkannthreades said...

How horrible to have noise poisoning. Glad you could take to the hills to escape from the noise and thereby bring us more beautiful, tranquil scenes. Loved the links. I feel overcome by all the loveliness I have seen in the past hour. 'Deep peace of the quiet earth to you" from Gallivanta

Heather Robinson said...

Love to you too, Sharon. I do hope that we get to meet one of these days. I think that we are both "fans" of each other's dogs--both of us have a sweetie and a stinker! ;) And I think it is wonderful that you are doing these giveaways--and I can't speak highly enough of David. He is a good egg!
Sending Gros Bisous up to Normandy,

Heather Robinson said...

Oh I will take that wonderful wish, dear G.

Sara Louise said...

I adore silly words! I blame it on supercalifragilisticispealidocious, which I'm sure I spelled incorrectly :P
Pop by my blog when you have a chance. I added one of your Aix posts to my latest Expat Escapades x

Heather Robinson said...

Woot woot!