When gazing at Vangogh’s Sunflowers or Starry Night, and the or hundreds of still life pictures that still glow under appreciated, you may some believe they exaggerate the landscape….
that the colors are impressionist, made more distinct to highlight the psychological input of the viewer on objects.
No, um, really, Provence is THAT bright. THAT pretty….
And Delicious….Just look at Fougasse, the traditional bread…
Something unraveled itself during this 4 day excursion (really, 2.5 days, with a horrific trying to meet up with my traveling compadre and flights and car times). Multiple realizations over and over…THAT:
much of my experience unfolds itself rationally…
in idealistic nuggets, enslaved to a undeterred “time-king”
rather than present, sensing grace
that I AM.
In a way, the prodigy of the landscape, the nourishment, the community,
and a courageous effort to FEEL and LOVE and DISLIKE, originated a re-owned focus.
Over and over, announcing my place in the family of things. To allow the soft fur of my body love what it loves. And not to HAVE TO BE GOOD. Or Repent
Yep, Mary Olivers words becoming flesh in the senses.
In writing about my time there, I mis-spelled the region over and over, mixing it up with:
prov·e·nance (prŏv’ə-nəns, -näns’)
Place of origin; derivation.
The history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used of artworks, antiques, and books.
When life presents messages, may we listen…right?
Well…after a pretty tumultuous journey on Friday, arriving alone and worried at Le Prince Noir, in Les Baux de Provence…I unloosened myself. This area, perched up on a rock, contains a royal history dating back to a time BEFORE time. And our B & B juts out FROM THE RUINS THEMSELVES. All of my planning, and unrest, and worry melted away with the view from the terrace.
A little dessert helped as well in the stone path village that hushed as the sunset (they kicked us out of the café at 10!).
Saturday morning, waking early, listening to the soreness of my legs, my body carried me slowly (no jogging!) up a path, rather unintentionally viewing with absurd gratitude (How can such a sight come upon me WITHOUT PLANNING IT???) Le Baux. From a distance, the massive impressing upon me, that my daily attempts to manufacture perfection pale in a history of such grandiosity. (BEST IPHONE SHOT EVER!)
This breakfast felt like a reward. But here’s the thing (I kept saying this line over and over again throughout the weekend). IT WOULD HAVE COME WITHOUT ME HAVING TO ‘EARN’ it.
A short 20 minute drive into Arles, where Van Gogh, Gaugan and a slew of un-noticed and un-appreciated artists worked, and a 30 minute meandering lead us quite on purpose to one of the largest Saturday markets in France…and my heaven! The senses delighted indeed! Soap! Bread! Cheese! Nougat! Maribelles (a cross between a macaroon and a meringue) didn’t even have to tempt us.
Let your body love what it loves. And delight in, did we.
Perhaps my favorite town thus encountered in France EVER, St. Remy de Provence. Romans, Nostradamus, Van Gogh and Princess Caroline of Monaco called this home. Here, waiting too long to enjoy lunch, we happened to sit down in the hot sun under a canopy covered café around 3pm, enjoying rose wine and salade Nicoise (NO–EEEE-Y-SH), both beloveds of this area.
Yes, divine, and we understood this because while the perfect fish and olives skipped on out tongues, we witnessed a wedding processional across the street. Timing Perfect again. No planning Required.
Van Gogh stayed in St. Remy at a monastery asylum shortly before his suicide. A tour of this place pricked my hunger for knowledge, and my creativity curiosity peaked following this as the Musuem Estrine, where gorgeously inspiring Chantal offered us a special showing of a film regarding how Van Gogh used everyday still prints to work through his psychological pain. Only Chantal, French could explain such a dynamic with the description
25 minutes of pure happiness
She was right of course…which snowballed into 90 minutes of pure happiness around 8pm that evening when I dined at my first Michelin starred Restaurant. When you order a meal, tons of “extras” are thrown in. You had me at Amuse Bouche…but for life, I will recall the Tomato Salad, and the Rhubarb Tart, and the conversation throughout the meal…the feeling of being completely perfect, at home, in the world, in myself, in relationship.’
I finally articulated a new pastime…I Cherish TASTING/SAMPLING…which is why vineyards, markets, family run locals and gourmet shops appeal to me. A Washington Post reporter interviwed me in Arles because I chatted with a vendor for 15, and explained how the culture seeps into my memory, into my neurons when I see the passion infused into the product.
The Romance of knowing from where, from whom, this thing is birthed, Marks me
Thus, sampling some of this areas most beloved products was “part of the vision” NO MORE PLANS!…
DID YOU KNOW
Olives served as the mainstay orchard since 500 BC! Time before time, these nuggets sustained life here. This PREDATES WINE!
visiting an olive orchard, Castelas http://castelas.com/ resonated…”smell the grassy tone?” this is one part of my palate that could use a little muscle…
Of course, I cherished Julie, at there are only 6 small family owned producers with the seal from Le Baux.http://www.lesbauxdeprovence.com/les-baux-de-provence/terroir/les-vins-aoc-les-baux-de-provence.html Mas de la Dame…I HEART you! (And will love you even more because the airport security stole you from my grasp…but my PTSD from Egypt and my “be in the moment” focus prevented me from protesting too readily!)
AH….it is easy to love what I love here….to which I will return.
Do you have a magical place?
But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.