Friday, July 17, 2015

Texture hunt, part deux



The streets have been abandoned.

I mean as in they are truly, utterly, I could skip down them naked while playing a ukelele and no one would notice empty. Not that I plan on doing that mind you, it is simply far too hot and I would be afraid to sizzle the pads of my already blackened feet. 

We are in the midst midst of our third week of mid-90's to 100°F temperatures with another in front of us just announced. It has been enough to silence even the most hardened locals who tried to blithely declare, "Mais, c'est ça l'été!" No, my friends, we usually get a week of this roasting oven in August. But this? C'est pas normale.  Even the scrappy cigale in our olive tree has barely enough energy to shake his belly into song.

When I do head out - early or late but never in-between and covered in a ridiculous hat - I can't help but resee this little village under this clawing light that exaggerates light and dark, heightens surfaces and blurs the normally solid line between opaque and transparency. My neighbors old stone walls have bumped up into the surface of the moon or Mars. Like Ben, our wise Golden, I hopscotch from shade to shade all the way out to our garden, which, by the end of the day has baked, hard earth and wilted greens. I can hear it sigh with relief as the water comes rushing through to the roots.

It is a time for not too demanding manual tasks as the most basic intellectual pursuits escape me. Books tumble into my lap as I turn on my belly to nap. Ideas and words have locked themselves into the drawers of my desk, refusing to come out until the temps have cooled, making it impossible to write. Photos for posts have piled up, knocking at the computer screen for attention but I just stare at them, blinking.

I am not complaining, of course. Remi has been in the midst of photographing a really interesting project that I will share with you later on under blazing studio lights for the past two weeks, the dogs are forced to wear their fur coats which droop heavily after I hose them down and renovation work continues with the heave of new roof tiles and the churn of cement just down the street.

Perhaps this is more of a billet-doux in an apology form for not being more active here. I usually go quiet in the winter months; this is unexpected. But I find my brain as vide as the streets and there is a form of texture hunt going on inside - both within the walls of this closed up house and inside my rather empty noggin'. But I keep thinking back to my friend J recently admitting that she likes jet-lag as it takes her to this kind of dreamy place. And so it is all a question of perspective then, as it always is.

For I do find Provence incredibly beautiful even while she is sporting her most dashing summer clichés, presenting her best angles to the visitors who have come from the world over to admire her...I just feel not entirely a part of all the buzz but rather am floating along beside it. Perhaps that is not a bad thing after all...











Happy Summer Days everyone and Bon Weekend...


42 comments:

Judith Ross said...

Heather, I will remember this when we have a few hot days next week -- it has been a lovely, moderate summer here in the Northeast so far. I don't function well at all in the high heat and humidity that we often get here so I admire your ability to create such articulate words and photos! The ninth photo from the bottom, in particular, takes my breath away -- those leaves glowing through a slit in the stone. Yes! Stay cool my friend.

RebeccaNYC said...

oh my gosh. and last summer it was rain rain rain and more rain. Weather in Provence is so DRAMATIC! courage!

robin said...

I'll bet I won't be the only one to say this, but it LOOKS hot there!!! We are amazed - not only that you can manage to leave your house and lift your camera, but that you also can still take wonderful pictures! I do love seeing all of the nooks and crannies of your new village and love your musings on being heat addled (but nonetheless I'm hoping for a lowering of temps for you SOON!!!).

Eleanor O'connell said...

The pictures look amazing even if it's roasty toasty.

Lorrie said...

The enervating characteristic of heat extends to mind and body. Our temps were hot, hot, hot for a couple of weeks and I accomplished zero. It's cooler now but we're headed upwards again over the weekend.
Love your shot through the slit in the stone - on the other side there will be cool green loveliness.

Karena Albert said...

Heather we are having a heat wave here as well, after weeks of rain!!
The flowers are beautiful though and it is nice to be reading and watching good movies!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena
Gratitude

Sandy said...

I love the visual silence. It just as if one should take a siesta, then a cool drink. Relax. Beautiful photos.

simpleimages2 said...

“Do I dare to disturb the universe?” the familiar question of T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock.
But what’s happening to the weather worldwide?
Napa Valley had the real hot 95-102F summer and may come back again.
The brain is not a cauldron for creativity. One feels sluggish not dreamy. Still, one needs a space for expression, or an anchor or “texture” , “a question of perspective”.

I wish you a “cool” weekend.Plenty of ice?

une femme said...

Your photos are wonderful; I can almost feel the heat radiating off of them. And I love how you weave the textures of that hot-and-hazy frame of mind. We usually get that kind of heat here in September/October, just when it "should" be fall. Hope you get a break soon!

donna baker said...

Our summers are always the same. I can't do anything when it is so hot outside. It shapes everything in the summer.

Laura said...

Your photos express the play of light & shadow so well. It seems your home would be the perfect retreat from the searing heat, with shuttered windows and a stone floor.
We have had a rather mild summer in Santa Fe with the usual monsoons. August may bring a change, however, and our temps. will probably rise.
Wishing you a "cool" and relaxing weekend!

Laura said...
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Laura said...
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vicki archer said...

I hear you!!

I'm in hiding.. ;) xv

La Contessa said...

YOUR words here are picture perfect!Tell me if you close up all the windows and doors doesn't the house stay cool......are the tiles cool for the dogs or do they too heat up my mid - day.
We are having a very light summer.........actually too cold at night and windy!
Gosh, we wait ALL year for summer and then NOT to enjoy it is HURTFUL!
I hope your garden can tolerate this heat.................any harvesting taking place?
XO

Lee I said...

Enveloped in heat in my mind, I almost expect hazy lazy pictures, which makes the crispness of contrast in these photos come as a surprise. I love them all, but one gave me a double take: the glass porch cover. My initial reaction was that I was looking down a spiral glass staircase. Maybe the sun has me seeing optical illusions

marsha cannon said...

Ah, it is the same here in Mississippi. Hot and humid and hard to tolerate especially when I want to be in the garden but the heat forces me back inside. I like the idea of a jet lagged dreamy state though!

D A Wolf said...

Your photos are, as always, exquisite. As for your mind being "vide," I would say that we enjoy even your vide, Heather, as it is beautifully expressed in your words.

Try to stay cool.

xo

Jackie Clark Mancuso said...

Your photos are beautiful and evoke the dreamy jet lag like state you describe. I would float in it like a kind of time out.

susan burpee said...

Lovey post. Just wanted to say that when we were in France in May this year, we visited Arles...mostly because I had been reading your blog. And I found myself looking at doorways, and small architectural features that I might not have otherwise noticed. Thanks for that.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Judith we are trying. And I am so happy to hear that you are having a moderate summer as well. My Mom and Sis are too in Michigan and all of you deserve it so much after the hellacious winter past. Scratchies to Karina, please.

Heather Robinson said...

It is. But I would take the rain (and it was a crazy amount of it) over this any day of the week!

Heather Robinson said...

Beautiful Sister - it is hard to take photos in this crazy brightness! Everything looks weirdly contrasted. I can't wait for you to visit here...

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Madame Decret! I have to say it is pretty charming in these parts. :)

Heather Robinson said...

That slit in the stone was part of the fortified wall of the village...dating back to??...Middle Ages maybe? Isn't it something to imagine someone shooting arrows out of it.

And thank you for helping me to feel a bit better about getting zero accomplished! Hope your temps have gone back down...

Heather Robinson said...

Oooh, watching good movies, yes! Perfect for a heat wave, Karena!

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Sandy. And yes, resting is key...

Heather Robinson said...

Yes, I do need those things even while they feel just out of my capability right now, Edgar.

Ice is not a "thing" in France. I kind of forgot about it. I will makes some ice cubes and the dogs will have some too.

Heather Robinson said...

Along with the Santa Anna's, non? Oof. It is bad enough to have the Mistral here with the cold but to have a crazy-making wind amidst heat would just about do me under, I think!
Thank you for the compliment...

Heather Robinson said...

I am so excited when we go somewhere in the car because there is always a little moment of "Yay! Air-conditioning!" :)

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Laura! It was crazy hot and busy but fun! I think it is interesting how the traditional architecture in our two environments were so much more condusive to living well with the weather. Yes, the thick stone walls, shuttered windows and cool floors are a boon...

Heather Robinson said...

Me too. I am on strike. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Our zucchini's are really suffering badly and the beets and leeks that we planted just didn't sprout at all. :( We are doing our best though to keep it going.

And yes, the ground floor stays cool pretty much all day as we close up the shutters. So we are hanging out in the dark but it is totally worth it for the doggies!

Heather Robinson said...

Maybe Lee but I have to say that I kind of love it! And no, this is no soft hazy heat but a razor sharp one...

Heather Robinson said...

Marsha, I have to say that I am SO grateful that our heat is dry - I don't know how you do it! On my trips to NOLA I would just be reduced to a mint julep swilling mess! ;) And it does make me mad because usually I look forward to my garden time so much and right now I am kind of dreading it...

Heather Robinson said...

You are lovely, friend, thank you.

Heather Robinson said...

Yes. However this being week Four of the time out, I am realizing that I need to buck up and get things done!

Heather Robinson said...

And thank you for this really fine compliment, Susan. It made me happy to hear! I hope that you enjoyed your time in Arles and in Provence!

Jenny Rose-Innes said...

Hi Heather, having recently spent three weeks in Provence, this post evokes memories of how special it was. So well written accompanied by beautiful photos. Thank you!

emilia tremante said...

Good evening dear Heather,
I thought to be the only one to love cool weather .... well I am not alone ! I totally agree with you : everything is impossible with this hot temperatures. I don't want to spend all my holidays this way.... I completely feel without energy..
I love your photos and words as usual my dear they bring me some fresh air .
P.S.
My husband and his orchestra are performing in Frontignan next 23rd July for the Sete Sòis Sete luas festival but unfortunately I will not be there . I am so so sorry about this.
Good night my dear. Bisous

Tracy Wood said...

I can feel the heat, and the thought of it terrifies me. I hope you have some relief soon. I used to have Buci clipped for summer, have you ever thought of doing that for your two? Bu behaved like a puppy again without that thick coat.
xxTracy

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

Just flew south yesterday and have also been surprised by the humidity and heat. In Nice it was hard to handle, but now we are out in the countryside there does seem to be a little more air. Love your pictures

xox