Day 35 Saturday October 14
A day spent mostly at the writing desk, shaded by local linen drapes as the Provencal sun drenches the room in the most exhilarating light. It’s no wonder Cézanne, Picasso, Van Gogh all flocked to this region to paint! As the writing stalled, Norman’s proposed solution was a quick trip over the Luberon into Bonnieux to find Les Caves du Chateau Canorgue. The wine IS good. The proprietors seem to suffer still the mixed blessing of their chateau having been used for the movie A Good Year, (starring Russell Crowe, fans!) , but once we had asked about les cépages, la duration du fermentation, etc., we were “in” as vrai amateurs du vin, and spent a lovely hour there. The fruit of our labours is chilling in the fridge for tomorrow. And the break was, as Norman predicted, successful in producing another burst of writing energy into the evening, followed by a delightful supper of local porc, atlantic salmon, and some killer desserts neither of us needed, mais, quand en France, quoi faire?
Day 34 Friday October13
What a full day! We began in the Friday market in the village, before heading southwest to Pont du Gard and Arles to marvel at the impressive remains of Roman France, Arles has a very Mediterranean ambiance, with a delightful melange of language, food, culture… crepes and pétanque cheek by jowl with aromatic couscous and Friday prayers at the mosque, and the ancient Roman arena now used for bull fighting! We went into the Camargue, and the sea mist, to enjoy the white horses of the Camargue, and the flamingoes on the salt marshes. A stunning feast of culture, before a planned full day of writing tomorrow.
To all those who are busy raising children right now, this phase of life Norman and I have entered, with young adult children fully flown, busy with their own lives, and us with youth enough left in our bones to travel, and feed the curiosities that don’t wane, but increase with life experience, this is a rich season…. hang in there! This will happen to you in the blink of an eye!
Day 32: Wednesday, October 11
A working day. Both of us lashed to the desk, working in companionable silence. The sunshine beckons, but we resist. Only possible because we have wonderful cuisine du terroir in the fridge to snack on, and the promise of supper at our new “local” just around the corner, in the town square.
Day 31: Tuesday October 10
Another lifetime wish fulfilled. We went to Avignon to visit the Papal Palace- a massive edifice- built during the “Great Schism” in the 14th century, when for a time, there were two rival popes setting up shop, one in Rome, and the second, at Avignon. As a historian of the church, this complicated time in the church’s history has always intrigued me ; what caused the Gospel of a peace-loving Christ to become ensnared in global politics (now, that’s a question for the ages!) Fortress walls, rising 50 metres high -without windows – to protect these upstart Popes and their money are a formidable testimony to the capacity for lust for money and political power to corrupt absolutely. What lessons must we, as followers of the way of Jesus, continually learn to avoid, not merely the trappings, but the traps of power, land, security, and money? I leave impressed and educated, but not inspired, but rather warned.
On a lighter note we fulfilled another of my whimsical wishes: Norman and I went onto the “Pont d’Avignon” and yes, we sang the ‘chanson-en-rond’ that I had learned as a child, “Sur le pont d’Avignon, on y danse..” (And yes, no children of ours were there to be embarrassed by their parents’ silliness!!)
Day 30: Monday, October 9
Another solid morning of writing! Rewarded in the afternoon with a car journey through the
Luberon, where it seems every turn of these windy roads yields yet another view of yet another hilltop town, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and lavender fields, all bathed in brilliant blue sky and sunshine. I didn’t take this picture (!) but it gives you a sense of the terrain, and the life of this part of the world, where the car is all but useless to a resident of a village like this!
We finished the day eating – and drinking – the fruit of the land, prepared simply, but with justifiable pride, by David, in an unnamed bistrot 20 metres from our front door.
Day 29 Sunday October 8
Happy Thanksgiving, all Canadian readers of this blog! And especially to all who will gather in worship this morning at CPU.
This is what we are thankful for this morning: a warm, cloudless Sunday morning. Croissants and coffee in the village square, and the view from the kitchen window, and a stunning place to be inspired to write. If Albert Camus came to this town to write, so be it!! I will try to write something a little less existentialist than “La Peste”, but I’ll take inspiration in all its forms!
After a morning at the desk, we went off in search of my screensaver! A lover of lavender, this image, below, has inspired me for the span of three laptops. We found this tiny Cistercian Abbey, hidden in its own valley, (the lavender is long past, just the grey rows of resting lavender bushes), just as the sun was dipping towards the horizon, so our Sunday worship was spent at Vespers with the monks and visitors of the Abbey – not many, but diverse in age and ethnicity. All the world contracted to this simple, solid spot, singing the psalms, antiphons and Song of Mary that have been sung daily since 1148 in praise of God, and in search of God’s light and leading.