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Short Timers

Posted by on May 4, 2013

“Time keeps on slippin,’ slippin,’ slippin’ Into the future.”

 

Here we are in May. Time feels like a landscape, and we are rushing through it on our personal “train à grande vitesse” –tgv, traveling fast now not because we are anxious to get to the other side, but because the speed is already set and we have to be quick to savor each passing scene.  

An expression here in Aix says that summer arrives in a day. Suddenly all the chestnut trees are in full bloom with new leaves and flowers. The platane trees (a variety of sycamore), pruned back so hard only a short time ago, are putting out new growth to create arcs of summer shade along the roads and for the terraces in city squares.

St.Sauveur & chestnuts

St.Sauveur & chestnuts

And the tulips! About an hour north of Aix, toward Manosque, Monique led us to rolling hill country of small farms, and the village of Lurs, where just below we found the tulip farm of friends. Monique and some fellow artists set up their easels, while Ken, Renée and I laid out a picnic on the grass. To one side we watched a herd of sheep grazing and gamboling (yes, really!) in the clear spring sun. Below us a field of tulips in perfect flower was slowly being cut to preserve the bulbs. The painters worked furiously to capture the colors before the tops of the flowers lay scattered on the ground. We, on the other hand, stretched out in the sun to become part of the painting-perfect landscape, à la Cezanne.

painting in Lurs

painting in Lurs

Renée in the tulips

Renée in the tulips

Monique's painting

Monique’s painting

Finally I’ve begun to paint also – not in the fields, but in our apartment and in Monique’s studio below in the garden. Far away from the comfort of my acrylics in my studio at home, I’m learning from Monique the nuances of painting in oils. And thanks to previous work with Tricia Reichert in Arroyo Grande, I’ve been able to do some watercolors, the best of which is a little portrait of SweetPea. Fortunately my neighbor Sophie had taken some very good photos of SweetPea in the fall that I could use to help me with this painting I just now completed.

Watercolor of SweetPea

Watercolor of SweetPea

Ken is fast-becoming a hit with the Set Club teams for whom he plays in golf matches regularly. He has a team logo polo shirt and our shelves are filling with winnings of wine and champagne.  To match the bonheur of playing well, he has also acquired the attire of a bonhomme, which Renée liked so well she went right out to find for herself.

Ken's winnings

Ken & Renee twins

While Ken went to Paris to visit with his nephew Michael & his wife, who had won a trip from Michigan, Renée and I explored some familiar and unfamiliar places in the Luberon. At Isle sur la Sorgue, we perused the Sunday market, finding many things to admire and some to buy.

Thinking of Renée and Andy’s biking ventures, I had to take a photo of this “sympa” biker girl we found in a side street.

biker girls

biker girls

Saint Saturnin-lés-Apt has always been one of my most favorite little villages in the Luberon. Now it is at the very top of my list, since Renée and I spent several delicious hours exploring the forest behind the old chateau on the hill, finding remains of bories hidden deep in the woods. In a little restaurant we learned that Joseph Talon “discovered” in these same forests the truffles that would become a delicacy dear to the tastebuds of his fellow Frenchmen. Et voila, a statue to reward him.

borie in the forest

borie in the forest

Care for a truffle?

Care for a truffle?

At the end of the day, one needs a little rest – so in Lourmarin, on our way home to Aix, Renée and I stopped at the same little café where Colleen, Ken and I had huddled in the cold in early March. This day was a bit warmer, and as we rested a bit, a local cat strolled down the street across from us, crying out loudly for some much-needed attention.  I had only to look in his direction and he trotted over, checked me out, and jumped up in my lap for a few caresses (the French word for “pats”). The men of the café were much amused and wondered/joked aloud, in French, if they made the right noises would they also get caressed? When I replied, in French, they were a bit chagrined that I had understood them. It was fun. We all laughed.

karen and the cat

karen and the cat

Alors, it’s time to end this entry. There’s so much to try to share – so many pictures and experiences. We thank you for your patience and perseverance with our little blog. Remember, if you want to talk to us – just email –  karen@karenmerriam.com or kensmokoska@gmail.com.

A bientôt. 

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