Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cabanon dreams

Camelot, my Camelot...a castle to call my own...or just...a cabanon.

I was thinking earlier today that my life has hardly been linear. And while I know in my head that every moment has been a result of a previous choice plus the occasional bolt of luck, looking back it does seem all over the map. Literally. Nomad me, even in society.

So perhaps that is why I long for something solid, a little hideaway to call my own where I can live as I please. One that won't suddenly disappear and will offer the same joys year after year.

My companion, whose jolts and dashes have been erratic as mine, feels the same. So we go hunting, cabanon hunting in Provence. It seems the perfect landscape, lavender fields, olive groves. And there they are, those often abandoned buildings, small enough to be our doll's house. Just the size for dreaming and an afternoon nap.

We scour them out, we chase across distant fields to find them. In our minds we fix them up, we argue over where the kitchen would go. We own them even if it is only in our cabanon dreams.

I don't need a castle. Nor perfection or idealism. No swords drawn out of a rock. Or miracles at all save for the everyday kind...

Shaking out the sheets on a line, pulling tomatoes, toes buried in the grass next to the one I love.

I am not there yet, but I am not far either. If my life has not been linear, who knows, perhaps I am closer than I think?

Today's post was my little "Hello!" as part of the series By Invitation Only, in which bloggers around the world share their interpretations on a common theme, this month's being "Camelot." 
To see the other wonderful posts, please do click here. There are such talented women in this group and we will be on break until September. 

Come on, there is nothing wrong with dreaming is there?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Small beautifuls

Kipling swivelled his ears forward, tracking the prickly peals of tiny laughter rolling towards us. Two young girls, perhaps three and five years old, had escaped their parents grasp and were running free, ecstatic and hiccuping with joy. But they were far, too far away as anyone who knows this busy street could tell. So did an elderly lady facing them. Her stooped back was towards me and yet I could feel her smile as she carefully bent down, arms wide. A dance step to the left, then the right to corral the two with upturned faces. Delighted. There was a pause of recognition, a bounce back and forth between the aged and ageless. Was this their Grandmother? She clearly felt so much love for them. The father came up in a lope of a jog. Merci, merci. He nodded knowing that she understood and scooping up his wriggling captives under his arms, turned and went on his way. The women straightened up for just a moment then watched them go.

Listen to this lovely song: Caminho Do Vento by Nei Zigma

*Award alert! Please feel free to tune out until tomorrow if that is not your cup o'tea*

Do you know Loree? She has a lovely blog Stories and Scribbles, where she delves into her life on the island of Malta. Isn't that exotic? I find it so. She is a wonderful writer and photographer and so I was delighted that gave me the Liebster Award--yes, especially as it means "dearest." Now, I think that this is the third or fourth time that I have been given this award by one of my peers but that doesn't make it any less special, no. As I have said here before, we all like to be appreciated. I am fortunate in having you all--a very expressive and brilliant bunch! But not that long ago, as La Contessa recently pointed out, there would maybe be five comments, maybe two. So, while not one to follow rules, I would be delighted to answer Loree's questions and pass on a few blogs to you.

Loree's Questions:
1. What is your earliest memory?
I am tiny, tiny and sitting on the linoleum floor in the kitchen of our apartment in Erlanger, Kentucky. I can make out the shadow of my Mom opening up the refrigerator door and sun is pouring in around her.

2. What character from a book do you most identify with?
Now, you have to give Loree credit for such a fine question but it is a trap! ;) Because honestly the first thing that popped into my head was "Jane Eyre" but that sounds both a little crazy and a touch pretentious.

3. What is your favourite flower?
Roses à l'ancienne.

4. If you could meet one person from the past, who would it be?
Again, immediate response--and I am sorry, Mom, it might upset you--but my Mom's Dad, my Gradfather, who died when I was too young.

5. What would you talk about?
Horses and the importance of living a clear life.

6. Have you ever won anything? If you have, what was it?
Beyond these awards? Yes. I won a poetry contest for Mother's Day when I was nine (?) that was for the local paper. "My Mom means the world to me and I love her a whole lot you see..." I also found a fifty dollar bill on the sidewalk in Central Park once when I was dirt poor and it felt like winning the lottery. I was so excited that I cried!

7. Do you prefer modern or vintage clothes, furniture etc?
By all means vintage and I have since I was fifteen years old--in a time and place where it wasn't considered in the least chic to do so. One favorite store was next to a strip joint! But the cuts, the colors, the materials gave me immediate access to glamour and to a level of self-expression that I could never have found where I was otherwise. And yes, vintage is the new green. 

8. What one event will forever remain etched in your  memory?
As everyone who knows me well can tell you, I have a terrible memory. I do. Too many years of insomnia have sneaky-thiefed my thoughts. But two that come to mind: opening my acceptance letter to the Yale School of Drama and seeing one tear fall on the paper...plus spotting the lions while on safari on my 35th birthday after having successfully helped Remi produce an ad for Apple.

9. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one book, which one would it be?
Again! Loree! Have you no shame? And I offer not even an original response--either the collected works of Shakespeare or the Bronte Sisters. The Sisters would probably win out.

10. What is your favourite musical genre?
Of all time? I would have to say that jazz has been a great constant in my life. But I am open...

11. Can you ride a bicycle?
I certainly have in the past. My first bike was pink and was called "Hearts a bustin'." I love that. 

Now, I will just pass this award on to a few folks that I KNOW that I haven't already given it to (see answer to #8). Usually the rules for this award go a little something like this: say eleven things about yourself, ask eleven questions and nominate eleven bloggers to answer them, notify them, yadda yadda.
I am just going to list a few new finds and if they want to pick up the ball I have so clearly dropped, by all means feel free!

My Liebsterites:
Naomi at Coulda Shoulda Woulda for being an inquisitive nomad, like yours truly.
Vickie at Beguiling Hollywood because I don't know how I have lived without my daily dose of Old Hollywood for so long.
George at 1904 for being a brilliant and charming cultural reference and host.
Lisa at Wishbone Soup Cures Everything for blowing me away with her gorgeous writing every single post.

There we go! Take or leave it kids...and have a grand day everyone...

Back with the "By Invitation Only" monthly post tomorrowish...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Faces of La Fete de Gardians

Remi and I were talking about what qualities we seek in a friend these days, at this age in our lives. And he came across a word that I loved, vrai or "true."

I think that the same could be said for many of the faces seen at the recent Fête de Gardians in Arles on the First of May. There was something about their traditional costume that made them more themselves. Especially as they all seemed so completely bien dans leur peau, good in their skin.

And that is as true as it gets.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Details at La Fete des Gardians

How I am entranced by the swish of silk and shine of satins at the Fête des Gardians, held each year on the First of May in Arles. The women sway like tender reeds under the weight of their finery while the men clench their jaws as they guide their horses through the maddening crowds. We all gather and pull to catch glimpses of a past and present mingling, sighing wishes just for a little bit of better, a mist of more mystery. Our everyday garb says much of the times we are in--of uncertainty, of fatigue. So how wonderful to get lost in this particular dream. 

While in years past (here and here), I have been swept up by the spectacle, I shifted focus, letting myself indulge happily in the beauty of the details, both masculine and feminine. 

Can you hear the rustle and the horses neigh?

The drums beat out a Provençal tune of old.

Curious as to the what and the why's?

From my first post on this splendid fête:

"While throughout France it is often when labourers hold protest marches to demand better conditions, here in Arles it is the Fête des Gardians. Extending south of town down to the sea, the Camargue is a large marsh land where bulls and horses roam free. They are watched over and cared for by les gardians, our answer to cowboys. Or actually, maybe the cowboys copied their French counter parts, for their Confrérie or Brotherhood, was formed in 1512 (and is the oldest of its kind) and has gathered every May Day for nearly the past five hundred years. A mass is held in the Major Church just behind the Roman Arena, at the end of which horses and riders are blessed in the name of St. George, their patron saint. For the occasion, everyone is decked out in their finest traditional Provençal costume, which was strictly codified by the Marquis de Baroncelli in 1817 and has been proudly adhered to ever since. Everything has its place--the way a woman's hair is rolled, the pinned folds of the scarf on her shoulders, the placement of her jewellery, her shoes."