Living in France can warp your sense of time and what that does to a person.
Now, I don't consider myself particularly ageist - I think I have said that before, perhaps recently even. But lately life has been kind to me by inviting friendships into my life with several women who are older than I am, at times considerably so. And I have to say that it has been eye-opening to say the least.
I see where their knowledge has been accumulated and how perspectives have eventually been sharpened with patience and not bitterness. There is none of that competing elbowing that has driven me towards the more stable companionships of men in the past (well, dogs too but they don't quite merit nosing in here). Phenomenally, these women willingly share their wisdom without weight or preaching or directing. I haven't figured out how that magic trick is pulled off yet but that is just one more secret to look forward to unravelling, one day.
They are utterly themselves and can care openly, benevolently, without second guessing.
Each one is truly beautiful and none of them remotely look their age, although that seems to be more of a bonus of being true than a goal. Inside they are lit with personal cocktails stirred with undimmed curiosity. Imagine a glowing silk thread spinning outwards from the heart in several, specifically cast directions with a calm economy of action. Like that. And that form of willingness has been extended towards me in a way that doesn't judge what I know already or don't know. My experiences are not discarded but taken in, hopefully adding and not subtracting, another step to climb, moving onwards.
I feel incredibly fortunate and am listening. Ok and admittedly am often talking entirely too much. One of my friends reminded me that I am still young at 46; I tend to forget that.
Speaking of a curious nature and an appetite for progression, let's go back to Anthony and his partners wonderful renovation project. After a considerable amount of thought - let's say that of a child from days gone by having to select just one piece from an array of penny candy - I have decided that my very favorite feature of this mid-18th century property is its staircase. Unlike me (or the current me), it is ambitious.
Well, the family who built it certainly was. For it was not enough that they had one of the grandest hôtel particuliers in this small but then still important village, they absolutely had to have the tallest one too. And so, an additional ceiling was built, raising the roof to a double height in the stairwell, one lined with open windows to catch the Provençal winds and topped with a delicately shaped plafond à la française. You can see very well what shape it is in now...we will have to wait together to see what it will become and the scaffolding is already in place.
Can you see why this makes me dream? Come with me, let's start from the beginning. At the base of the stairs, I start in near darkness, my hand on the cool iron railing. I tilt my head up and place on foot above the other, drawn by the light, the space and wondering if following my will is endless and painless as well. Up I go, climbing the staircase, until I reach the last floor, then I shakily climb the wooden ladder, nearly vertical, to that extra space, the secret alcove where families inscribed their names after world wars and unforeseen triumphs (or trials, who knows). Turning at last, the world falls from just beyond my feet and I feel the sway of vertigo. There is nothing there and everything and so very much still to learn. I have gone as high as I can go for now...chaque choses en son temps...all in good time.
Let's keep going on...
Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for being here...