Spring for a Day, and the Right Price for a Cezanne

Though today is not classified as such in any almanac, in my book, today is the first day of Spring.

Yesterday was warm, but today, Spring came to our hillside in the south of France. There was no need to re-kindle the fireplace in the morning. We worked with the doors open, clean air refreshing our home. We hung laundry on the line strung between two leafless trees rather than draping it over a wire-framed rack in front of the fireplace.

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For lunch, I made a delicious soup, toasted some thick brown peasant bread and brought it all outside. We ate at on wicker seated chairs in front of a weathered wooden table, and with the sun filtering through the laundry, perfuming the air with the nostalgic flowery smell of fresh laundry.  The sun and wind felt as if they were having a lighthearted conversation. The sun was quite enough to warm our whole selves, and the wind interjected frequently enough to make us notice and fully relish the heat. Bird calls began filtering through the rustle of trees a few days ago, and today they continued in intensity. We saw a giant bumble bee, two kinds of butterflies, and a lizard scaling the outside of the house. To Chris’s horror, Muttley’s intrigue, and my bemusement, a few flies found their way into our house.

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I finally finished “As Always, Julia.” I found it an absolutely fantastic read, the most satisfying one I have read in months. Chris sat outside in a T-shirt, though the wind prevented me from shedding my scarf and thin long sleeved shirt. I socialized, and became intrigued with the donkeys. For the most part, we have considered them annoying- they beg for hay like naughty children, but I have begun (too late, I’m afraid) to appreciate them. They seem to really be enjoying my scratches. For the baby, Josephine, I took off my heavy leather work gloves and let my fingers filter through her thick winter coat. I was surprised to find that, like baby humans, baby donkeys remain quite soft for some time. After two days of this, I have noticed that she does not seem as shy, which I resist to say, makes me happy.

Chris made pumpkin-corn fritters for dinner, and they were phenom. Our hosts come home tomorrow, and they will be expecting an addition to their “WWOOFer Cookbook.” We have thought long and hard about this. Originally, I thought that we should add the pumpkin macaroni and cheese recipe I shared with you yesterday, but after tonight, we have decided that we need to make an entire Zine, which we will entitle, “So You Have a Lot of Pumpkin.” It will be a pull-out addition to their cookbook, if  only we had a press to make a flexi-disk, we would be the coolest cats…

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Chris and I have been having a really privileged sort of struggle recently. We feel at home here. We have created routines and relationships with the people, animals, landscape, and home here at Les Seilhols. We want to appreciate that as fully as we can, and part of us longs to return in March. By then, everything should begin blooming or budding. After this enticing day, we can’t believe how magical this piece of land is, and to see it coming into bloom and to plant the first seedlings of the year would feel fantastic. There is nothing telling us we have to leave here at all, or that we can’t return in March. The allure of familiarity causes us to cling to this place, but we know that there is so much to see and learn that we feel we must continue our experience in other settings. Right now, Muttley just lay down next to my chair, oh how I will miss this silly pooch!

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The only thing that could draw us away from this fantastic place, is another opportunity, seemingly equal in fatasticity.

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Stage Two:
Chris and I will travel to Aix en Provence where we have been given access to an apartment for the month of February. The mother of Chris’s best friend lives in Aix, but will is stuck in the US until the end of February, so she has offered us her apartment for that time. She has been a wonderful source of encouragement as we I was worried about traveling with so little detail pinned down.

The apartment is in the city (this means human neighbors– lots of them!), the birthplace of Cezanne, with several bakeries, museums, etc. We will be closer to the ocean, in a new Province, with new specialties, and easy access to mass transit. Still, our plans our loose and open. We have done a little research, but we want to discover the city as it unfolds out of our front door, and to branch out with that fabulous country-wide transit to visit Marseille, or Paris, a vinyard, anywhere, with Aix as our home base. This means that we will not have to lug all of our things around, but will be able to travel more comfortably.

I don’t want to give away the name of our benefactor, because this gift is much too extravagant, and she would surely be receiving solicitations if we did, but THANK YOU!

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I am nervous and ecstatic to be leaving home once again. We have no idea what wonderful experiences will come of this, or what difficulties and crises, but do we ever? 

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