pile burning leaves, These photographs seem to come from a new place for me, one that is organic and elemental, like the season itself.
We prudently decide to turn around and head back up the steep climb to the house – got to break in the old bods slowly here! Back at The House Of Remembrance we make a picnic of cold chicken, salami, olives, tomatoes, radish, and chunks of olive bread and eat the whole thing out on the terrace. It’s a truly gorgeous day, made for a read and a nap. I do the former, Joel the latter. The forecast for New York is snow. Refreshed we get back on the road. At the top of ours, we stop for Joel to photograph a cistern he espied yesterday and both get distracted by a patch of virulent green grass so shockingly alive beneath the still-black, winter trees.
The cistern is both magical and foreboding. That’s magic for you. What is it that I find so sinister? Is it the cement holding tank which reminds of Japan’s still-threatening nuclear disaster? The water itself looks menacing, its black depths superficially lit by the sun, so as to make the reflections of the trees even blacker.
We drive on to Vence. We have a mission: those AMAZING chocolat truffe that have wiped the praline fondant of the map. We round a bend in the road and are caught by surprise at a glimpse of the Meditterranean. The sea is just over there! ALWAYS! And yet we completely forget about it because we are living in the mountains. Mountains, sea. Winter, Spring, Verdant grass, leafless trees. These exciting juxtapositions come at us in glimpses – or apercus as the French would say. And indeed we are just getting an apercu of how this IS the terrain here: we are in a Land of Glimpses. One must remain alert to this in order to “get” this part of Provence.
Suddenly I feel enormous relief: this is what I had not been willing to see before because my expectations preceded me. These expectations we have of life become demands if we don’t let go of them. The less we get what we want, the more we demand it and the demand blinds us, literally blinkers us, so that we are unable to Glimpse The Glimpse.
To take in that which reveals itself in a moment is to experience the vista of the moment: the immeasurable expanse of now.
In Vence we buy 8 Chocolat Truffles and 4 Dark Chocolat Caramelwith Fleur De Sel. Oh, God, help us. Furthermore Joel buys the specialte de la maison: a long puff pastry filled with hazelnuts and caramel. We choose a café on the sunny side of the square, order tea and commence to stuff ourselves with the recent purchases. On the corner the carousel goes merrily around. And yes, life is sometimes a caramel, I mean, carousel!
On the way back to the car we pass the little bio store we shopped in yesterday. The shop sign says “La Vie.” Next door is the funeral parlor.
Home again we heat up the old soup, light the fire and the candles and talk about the day. The hand is more than holding steady – it’s growing new skin. The living and the work we did today are fulfilling. The Cape house begins to slip away and we realize that we are not only making a book together, but we are getting what is our hearts’ desire more and more of the time: to be together:
WE CAME AWAY
TO BE TOGETHER