taking his thyme
my husband is enamored with food writer and cook richard olney, who left iowa to live in paris and eventually settled in provence. steve has written two articles either directly or indirectly about olney, and wishes to write more. he is good friends with the current caretaker of olney’s property, which still exists. over the last two days, steve made a mad run to provence to see the house one more time before we leave, to see his friend marc and drink lots of old wine with him, and to kiss lulu peyraud once on each cheek. lulu was olney’s favorite winemaker, and is currently 102 years old with no end in sight. in the process, steve went on a little walkabout on the hillside above olney’s house, and came home with a very meaningful handful of wild thyme.
where lemons grow
the lemon tree on our terrace is budding. we will miss the smell of occasionally picking a tight little bb of a blossom and crushing it between finger and thumb. the thought of leaving behind a budding lemon tree is making my husband very sad. he longs to live where lemons grow, and pick a little something from the tree out back to spritz over his plate of oysters. le pauvre petit…
lemons and lemon tree buds
i started to clean up today for our departure on sunday. while sweeping the terrace, i found several of these lunaria stems hiding in the corners and under the steps where the wind had carried them. i had photographed big, tall stems of these a few months ago, and apparently, i didn’t do a very good job of cleaning up after myself. lucky for me, i got a second opportunity to photograph these diminutive beauties. oh, by the way, the name latin name lunaria refers to the moon-like seedpods.
lunaria stems and seed casings (aka honesty plant)
this row of rocks reminds me of a shelf of books with two bookends. appropriate, i suppose, as we prepare to set a bookend at the far side of this trip, enclosing five months of life and its memories for future perusal and contemplation. i am officially ready to go home, but unsure how i will feel about it when i get there. i did just receive a video of our dog jack running in the snow, and i found him to be all that a long-lost dog should be. if nothing else, sitting by the fire with him will be worth the cold, the snow, and the somewhat jarring un-frenchness of urban minnesota in january.
beach rocks from roquebrune-cap-martin, france
Le Corbusier’s cabin
i am a realist, not a fantasist, as a rule. but i do have a persistent fantasy about a particular kind of living space. earlier in my life, it was an empty loft in new york city, with no furniture except a white desk, white curtains, a white bed, and two white side tables. i have a similar vision of a whitewashed stucco house on a rocky, isolated greek or italian island. and now there is le corbusier. the architect known for brutalist concrete slabs built a tiny, rustic, cabanon (or cabin) on the shore of the côte d’azur, just a few kilometers from the italian border. the cabanon is 144 square feet, sided with half-logs like a northern minnesota cabin, and full of built-in furniture he designed. as steve and i walked across the beach to see the cabin yesterday, i looked down and realized that everywhere i looked, there were striped beach rocks, maybe my favorite kind of beach rock after hagstones. so now, of course, i want to live in le corbusier’s cabanon, and create art by the sea, and gather gallons of striped beach rocks, and then maybe one day when i am very old, go out for my morning swim in the mediterranean, and just not come back.
striped (gneiss) beach rocks from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France