Friday, October 28, 2011
Is your calendar choc full of things you want to do but can't fit them all in? Last night was our downtown annual Fall Chili Cook-Off from 12 of our best restaurants. Last weekend was the Harvest Festival, WelcomeBack to the Farm Days with hayrides , corn mazes and veggies to explore. Every mountain community is having apple festivals with folks proudly bringing their best pies, jams, jellies, butters and applewood smoked Q.
This weekend our most skilled surgeons are carving pumpkins while children chase piglets. There are pumpkin patches and pumpkin games and pumpkin festivals of every description!
The weekend traffic counts are up on all the vista roads. Folks just plain yearn to be in the midst of all the Autumnal splendor. To experience this annual miracle in a way that triggers deep breathing , splitting smiles and the comfort of feeling all right with the world.
Joy is in the air and being shared!
Haiku Monday is the perfect location for sharing so this week our theme is: joy
Each participant may enter 3 haiku for judging.
Visuals are welcome and will be a contributing factor in case of ties.
Classic haiku format : 5-7-5, kigo and kireji are required.
The actual word "joy" does NOT have to be in your haiku but,
the emotion should be present.
Entries will be accepted until midnight on All Hallows Eve (PST)
Winner(s) will be announced by Noon on All Saints Day (PST)
To those of you who are new to visiting here at the Pond, please be advised Blowfish ,
will most assuredly participate in the judging. We will make the rounds to your individual blogs to see the visuals but please post all your entries here.
Good Luck Everyone!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
My first glimpse of Mont St. Michele was from a narrow street , in a tiny village, miles from the Mont. I am not sure it is possible to fully grasp the scale of this wonder from afar, or frankly, while you are on the rock. It staggers the brain.
I felt enormous sympathy for St. Aubert. By some accounts, this 8th century Bishop of Avaranches would visit a tidal island off the Normandy coast, known as the Rock of the Tomb, to meditate. On one such retreat it is said the Archangel Saint Michel "thumped" Aubert on the head instructing him to build a sanctuary on this rock. There must have been disbelief, certainly resistance to the enormity of the assignment because other historians claim ultimately Saint Michael was obliged to make three such requests of Aubert until finally resorting to using his finger to burn a hole in Aubert's head.
I cannot understand how it is possible for anyone to see Mont Saint Michel and not believe in God. Or miracles. Or say a prayer of gratitude to St. Aubert for his compliance. He is one of my newly recognized heroes of the faith. It is said that one of the Tresor's of Mont Saint Michel is the preserved skull of Saint Aubert. I did not see this for myself so I cannot verify there is a hole form Saint Michel's visit. It is of no importance to me, I do not need to see Aubert's skull to recognize the miracle.
My visit here was actually on the Feast of St. Michel. There
was a special service which I waited in line to attend then,
had a mad dash down the rock and over the causeway before the tide came rushing in. I was not staying on the Mont so getting off before the tide rushes in is essential.
I could say volumes about the wonders of the architecture but ..... well...... see for yourselves.
I could not photograph inside the sanctuary during a service.
Some did. I took a few more images as I made my way down, down, down to the causeway level.
The shadow in the tides
Then these last images before driving off the causeway, back into this century.
AND: Please take a smiling look at the coat of arms for Mont Saint Michel !!!!
AND: ONE MORE PICTURE JUST BECAUSE I LOVE THIS IMAGE:
Monday, October 17, 2011
I went first to Monet's garden in Giverny. I had read, long years ago, Monet designed his garden as a painting. Not that there was a garden he chose to paint but that he had a vision in his head of a beautiful garden he wished to paint. The garden did not exist. In fact, during the late 1880's most gardens were formal. Like the public gardens at Versailles or the
Tuileries . Monet envisioned his garden as "clumps of color" and set about to create his vision.
I believe I read somewhere it
was 16 years before he actually
made a painting of his garden.
Once he was asked why he created his garden there in Giverny.
His reply, " Because the Earth grows good here" Just an hour west of Paris, within the boundaries of beautiful Normandy
everything appears to grow good.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this visit was the size of the garden. It is huge. Just the garden at the house is huge, not including the Japanese water gardens. There are stately teuteurs supporting climbing roses and metal arches spanning the pathways for creating light rhythms while supporting plants at their blooming. It is more than the eye can hold.
Monet did more than clump his colors. He clumped shadow and light, he clumped textures and he clumped all of these at multiple heights. I read about how he begged for seeds and how , over time, few came to visit or paint or study or admire who did not come bearing the gift of a fine new plant. Monet was not a horticulturist, he was an artist and he viewed each species as a component of a composition. I will never look at a garden the same way again. As a strange aside, as I was experiencing the wonder of Monet's garden I thought, " How I loathe Monsanto! There will be no more century old gardens with terminator seeds".
When I look at the actual gardens and think about Monet's pallette I am stunned.
In his early, student days, he used the traditional darker paints. In the Impressionist years he wanted light, not dark. He is said to have organized his painters palette in a very specific order which included just 6 colors: white lead, cadmium yellow, vermillion, ,madder, cobalt blue and chrome green. To paint shadows with light was his mission. A right fine one.
I snapped this one last image as I was leaving Monet's home.
Friday, October 14, 2011
" Oh no! croissants and tea will not be waiting". Nor beautiful window boxes, nor church chimes nor unknown birds singing their morning joys.
There was the comfort though of my own nest.
In the 3am dark I wandered to the bath on auto pilot. No longer in a kaleidoscope of places trying to remember the facilities locations. En suite? Down the hall? Occupied? I resisted turning on any lights. But. I was awake. It was 3am not 9am. Maybe a Tylenol PM would solve the problem. This decision required light and then... staring back from the mirror was Hagatha the Worst.
I quickly exterminated the vision by turning off the lights and returned to my bed. Later, mercifully, Hagatha was banished and my own visage was returned to the mirror.
Marginal, but still a blessing.
I delayed, taking a seat at the top of the stair like a child awaiting the Christmas reveal. I would not be traversing ancient, winding stone steps worn into loblollies in the center from centuries of footsteps. I would not pause at 9 foot ancient leaded glass windows with a view of a moat , or breathtaking gardens, or French blue skies. My hand would not caress ancient railings polished smooth by the hands of French nobility.
I knew I would not descend our stairs to embrace the comforts of my own home. While I was elated to hug my loves I was not elated to leave France. In fact, on my third or fourth day there,
I sent a text message to both Mermaid and Blowfish which said,
"Looking for work, will send for you soonest!" I had hopes of apprenticing with a confectioner or a baker. I have never made
a croissant. Now that I have delighted in the real thing I am urgently wondering how I will find one here. I will have to learn how to make them.
Then too, there is chocolate. In France, chocolate is an art form. Seriously. The chocolates are so beautiful one hates to consume them and destroy such beauty. But there is the matter of taste. Oh! to the beauty magnified in your mouth. So good in fact, that I did learn to not flinch at the $7.50 cost of a one inch square confection. Money is irrelevant in this application because just one is enough to satiate. Worth every Euro.
Not even one. Tragically, there also is no family chapel tucked into the turrets. There are no great stone stables , or vineyards or manicured grounds. Also no grooms, vintners or groundskeepers. Alas.
There will be more on my travels.
Once croissants are located.