Vierville sur Mer
As it has always looked.
Tall stone walls of sun-bleached creme
Bending with each turn in the road
Urging one on.
Point du Hoc
As it has always been
Rest assured of itself,
Left bereft of life, the living.
What that this force does with our humanity;
Usurps the Soul
Morsel by brutal bleeding morsel
Until it breaks the spine of Spirit dwelling there.
Lets It swing from rafters
Dead to Mothers,
St Mere Eglise
As it has always stood,
Today like any other
But for the thin veil
That breathes its fabric
Between the worlds
And gives rise
To not just the living memory
Of the fallen
But to the Ineffable;
The unending sorrow
And blinding light.
Ten thousand of my sons came that day
Braced to die.
Just that day alone.
Fused by Spirit unbroken,
Could do nothing but press on.
There is but one light in us all.
Eternal in this soil, the sea,
And in time immemorial
That it will not ever happen again.
And yet it does.
The summer and autumn were full of finishing projects — to glow.
What you’ll enjoy most is the work you didn’t have to do!
With blood, sweat and tears, Liam busted his ass and brought out of the dark into the light of day, incredible spaces.
Then we took a break for a day of roaming in Normandy, from the cornucopia at the Cathedral of Coutances, to chasing the bread wagon delivery (avec un cheval).
We are wrapping up autumn in its final days of November, keeping the fire lit, and awaiting the first cold frost, and family at home in France, for Christmas:)
In France, all over the country, every village puts on their Vide Grenier in the summertime — their annual ’empty the attic’ flea market where you can find all kinds of treasures.
The streets are lined with fold-up tables spilling over with goods from knitting needles to clothes to collectibles, the MUSAK of Johnny Hollyday roars through loudspeakers, and the saucisse is on the grill by 8 am. BBQ smoke wafts through the streets full of locals dealing their wares, and hunger hits about 9.30. So we grab our galette saucisse avec dijon, and meander through the petite chemins of these old, stone towns taking it all in.
We go to the vides — and we find the off-the-beaten-track brocantes where tourists don’t go — to pick up the odd but to-be-cherished piece, to bring home (full house here…) or put up on our etsy site.
If we like it, we figure you might too.
Take a peek.
We’re at the end of August here…the pumpkin and corgettes have gone mad in their bed, the farmers are collecting their baled hay from the fields on camions way too big for these roads, and we press ahead with the west wing.
I think the pictures will tell their thousands of words about just what we’ve been up to…
There’s something about an abrupt weather change that is invigorating to the Soul…
Winter started late this year — the peony was in full bud the end of December, thinking Spring was on its way…
This morning I went for a quick, brisk walkabout — and here are a few photos to share with the morning brew.
Nothing serious, mind you; just a dusting but what a breath of fresh air it is!
It is HARD to believe the end of the year is upon us. We have hammer dulcimer music playing, the fire roaring, and a wet Normandy day out the windows. We’re staying in.
Here is a slideshow of this last year; with friends, family, and the love of our life here in France. It’s also on Facebook.
We are blessed. We know it.
We are grateful. We live it.
We are happy. We love it.
We Wish All of You a Prosperous and Rewarding Year 2012, and we Wish for All of Us, Peace on Earth.
Liam & Ani
I do understand it is now October and I am just getting around to the summer camping blog.
So it is. May it urge you to come to France — and camp!
It’s an odd thing when you look back in time…there are things that stand out as golden. There are others that disappear, like pain does when it’s gone:)
Camping stands out. What’s golden, is what you discover while there:)
I have to say that I did not EVER think I’d be camping in France.
Did not EVER consider the possibility until one day it arose because — well because we wanted to explore more of France in a *real* way, close to the earth, driving around exploring without all the hype of tourism, going where we wanted when we wanted, and eating food we could buy fresh at the markets any given day.
I had NO IDEA this was a common *sport* in France. But I found out quickly.
It is a blast.
We went to what is the main sports chain store in France, Decathlon, and got outfitted for camping…a pop up *Quechua* tent, an inflatable airbed (we ARE in our 50s now), a lantern, table and 2 camp chairs, a very cool little stove to heat water — you know — the usual stuff — but high tech.
The tent was a riot. I graduated from age 17-57 in about 30 seconds. I remember the days of heavy canvas, wet tents — hauling everything heavy — which is why I forgot about it all.
(Brief diversion: Having three children with those memories? Didn’t EVEN want to go there. In fact, I never did. I refused to take them camping. Can you believe it? Lucky for them, their dad stepped in annually:)
Back to it.
Liam pulled the tent out of the back of our little Fiat, pulled the belt off it, literally threw it up in the air, and voila. It opened and dropped ready to fill.
Jumping into camping is was what clued me into that this is what the French do all summer long. First of all, the French love to travel:) And France is so big and diverse, they travel a LOT in their own country; all over it.
They are set up. Geared up. Equipped. They shop at Decathalon and except for the camper vans, we all seemed to have about the same equipment!
(I quietly compared as I cooked…)
The first campground experience was a large, flat and grassy place…hot showers, hot water for dishes, laundry facilities — full of French, German, English, Dutch, and a few Spanish license plates too, all visiting our neck of the woods. There were dozens and dozens of campsites. This was SMACK in the middle of Pont en Bessin, SMACK in the middle of where the Normandy Invasion occurred.
There were a few things that struck me; one was the agreement field of the campground. Everyone was respectful, tidy, unto themselves, and quiet. Quiet in a campground? Everyone slept well. There were many tents — this was not an RV campground though there were mini camper vans about — the whole world was there for the same reason; to be outside, sit in the sun, relax, read, visit the area, cook something on the BBQ or visit a local restaurant — it was simple pleasure.
The other one was that we were sitting in the middle of French soil where such history had recently occurred. Just sitting there. In the middle of it:)
We took two camping trips this last summer. The first one here mentioned, the Normandy Beaches, also included Bayeux and Coutances.
The slideshow here is a mix of the Beaches, and Leonardo.
You’ll know the difference (:
Verville sur Mer, Pont du Hoc — sobering. Necessary.
Necessary for our children and theirs to experience.
The second camping experience was in the Loir et Cher.
The camping was the same — easy, quiet, wonderful — and beautiful. The mist would rise out of the earth at sunset with *the light of France*, a living tapestry of a potential Monet…with all of us camped at the west end of the campground paying homage to the setting sun in silence.
Beyond that? Was where we went. We visited Amboise, an absolutely charm-filled town, home to King François I, dear friend of Leonardo da Vinci.
He invited Leonardo to come to Amboise in the last years of Leonardo’s life (he died there). The King gave him his ‘smaller chateau’ right down the road.
It is called Château du Clos-Lucé. Stand at the window of Leonardo’s bedroom, regard the grander chateau of the king — and know if your friend has gone to bed…that was my experience…mimicking his, I imagined…
It is an intimate, full of golden light space. The renovation is exquisite and gives you an experience of splendor.
What I keep remembering in that splendor of Leonardo’s home is that his last three to four years of life on earth — were right there. The same handrail. the same banister. The same rooms with the views.
I’ve not been to Italy yet but the culture seeped through in the color and design.
I stand at home here in France in the kitchen, and think I must have gone to Italy! But wait! No! I haven’t! The experience at Château du Clos-Lucé is so fully representative of who Leonardo was. And I received that by hitting the road, camping nearby, and including it as one of the important places we wanted to visit.
The neighbors are getting serious about taking in the rest of the corn while the last of the warm, dry weather lasts.
They’re working 18-hour days with combines and huge trailers to chop down, grind up and haul off the corn that’s been surrounding us since late spring. It gets fermented and turned into silage (a French work, actually. Can you say, “See-lahzh?”).
Sure makes the place look different …
We have lots of volunteers in the garden, but this one takes the cake this week. I still have to pull out 2 pear tree volunteers, one oak tree and one walnut tree. All of them — just showed up. Not to mention the flowers I never planted but are thriving still at the close of the season.
As it happens, they all know where to come. We have two turtledoves in for dins nightly…..and no; we’re not going to eat them.