Featured photo my own – Metro sign in Paris
17 August 2020
I could write about five or more different topics this morning. Or none. The five feel valid but somewhat anecdotal. A bit light. And yet they are not. Not a lot is light in my life. Which is okay. And there is lightness.
I could write about a lovely few days in Paris, staying in the most stylish flat under the auspices of the Sacré-Coeur, the staycation a generous gift from one of those numerous kind people in my life, Jeanne, who took it on herself to find a sweet way to bring me some space. Twice she has said, “please – take my place in Paris when we are not there. Come and enjoy it”. I have had a number of those gifts since Mike, then Julia died. I love those invitations. Invitations to breathe differently. Invitations of love and trust from the heart. Invitations from people who may or may not have even met Mike and/or Julia, but simply love the friendship we have. Thank you, Jeanne. (And Sandra and Nathalie and John C and Todd & Evie and John W in just the past two years. And of course, mum and dad). (And no – you don’t need to give me/us the use of your pad to be a loving friend).
I could write about exhibitions visited in Paris on Love (really!), Turner, Banksy (s/he did not show up) and Pompeii. I could write about what it’s like being in relatively empty Paris during the pandemic (yes – everyone wears masks. The French can be quite law-abiding).
I could write about holiday experiences swimming in the sea, in a river, in a canal (in Paris), in a lake. Kite surfing, cycling, and scaling mountains. I could not write about shopping, unless for nectarines and watermelons.
I could write about “getting home” after a long staycation in beautiful France – seaside, mountains, city – a lovely mix – and the greeting received from the dog (especially long) and cat (relatively long). And Ben & Megan (relatively short).
I could write about meeting some of Medjool’s British family yesterday, being face to face with an apparently high-functioning, loving and intact family of four, who know that that is not to be taken for granted. Both parents lost a dad or mum at the age Julia was when she lost her dad. With more time I would want to ask, “How the fuck did you survive? What did your surviving parent do that helped? What could I have done differently? Why on earth did Julia not want to be here?” Another time, maybe. I am not ready.
I could write about saying goodbye yesterday to my most recent pet sitter Karen who arrived in early February for a period of two months to help with the pets, and got stuck here for 6 ½ months because of the pandemic. She’s off for more adventures with a firm plan for a week, and a flexible plan for maybe the next few months, and then who knows. Asia? Europe? It was a true delight to be stuck with her and I appreciated her presence and support. And I know that, of places to be stuck, our house was a good one. A true win-win.
I could write about hearing my elder daughter Megan play her flute on Saturday afternoon, perched on the window sill, to an accompaniment of a Jacob de Haan piece, “Concerto d’Amore”, that the kids used to play in our village orchestra with the amazing and popular Francesco Grassini. I am always stopped in my tracks when I hear her play this piece in particular. Sometimes I hide around the corner and record her as I did this time. If you choose to listen to her, accompanied by a recording, you hear her say “Would you stop?” as she catches me recording her. She is still so good. She was playing this by heart, no music. The notes in her fingers, head, heart, soul.
I am transported back to Sergy music concerts, sitting in the audience with Mike, his arm around my neck or just holding hands, my heart swelling with love and pride, my eyes welling with emotional tears, my throat constricted. There is something about Jacob de Haan pieces, popular with wind bands, rousing film-type music with a pedagogical lens, that always felt fantastic, whether to listen to or to play. I am listening to the piece now as I type. Interesting lines of music for all instrument voices. Enough technique to keep restless teenagers interested. Gentle “piano” parts, building up to exciting “forte” sections, and time and rhythm changes requiring all eyes to be on the conductor. I miss it so much.
So many “little big things” in a week. Each one triggering myriad other experiences, situations and memories. Like a piece of fabric made up of many threads where, when I tug at one piece near the edge, something happens way into the centre of the fabric.
Those are all the things I could write about from this last, abnormally normal, normally abnormal week.