Archives for the month of: July, 2013
Gently down the stream in the Canal du Midi.

Messing about in boats on the Canal du Midi.

It was all Susie’s idea.  We rented a boat for an hour, and it went only about as fast as leisurely stroll, which suited the mood perfectly.

Captain Peter at the helm.

Captain Peter at the helm.

Clever, happy girl!

Clever, happy first mate!

mark and me in boat

Happy crew.

A perfect summer day that we’ve laid away in memory for whenever we need it.

Summer is like this, for me– all about these exquisite moments which I try to absorb into my bones, so as to have them for comfort and faith when the cold, dark weather comes.  One day, several years ago now, I stood on the bridge over the Delaware between Centerville and Stockton with my sister on a perfect summer day late in August.  School was to start very soon, and there was the water beneath us, and the green trees around us, and we willed ourselves to take it in so we would have it:  vitamins of summer, a moment out of time. I still have that day inside.

And now this one.

And perhaps today another one.

Maybe life is but a dream– but with awareness, we can perhaps choose to dream lovelier.

(It helps to have a special person to share it with.  That day with Jeanie has Jeanie in it.  This day with Susie has Susie in it.  So recalling the day recalls the love, too)

ENGAGED!  In the Placa Reial, Barcelona, July 12, 2013.  While we sat at a cafe and sipped sangria, watching the world go by (the Placa Reial is better than T.V.), along came a couple and before we could realize what was happening, he was down on one knee holding a little box in his hand.  We got out the camera in time to take this snap:

You can see the box in his hand.

You can see the box in his hand.

And then this one:

They will be so happy together.

They will be so happy together.

If you know them, let them know I have these photos and two more.  I  would love to send them to this sweet couple, who looked so happy, and made our day with their joy.

Behold the Pont Du Gard.

Beautiful, functional, and fun to boot.

Beautiful, functional, and fun to boot.

What other ancient monument is also a park, a place for a picnic and a swim, as well as a wonderful museum?

The museum not only shows how they built the thing, but also why:  the role of water in the Romans' lives.

The museum not only shows how they built the thing, but also why: the role of water in the Romans’ lives.

It’s big, it’s Roman, it’s breathtaking, and we’re glad we went.

From the other side.

See those tiny people walking across it?

The water was cold and shallow.

The water was cold and shallow.

And the shade was a good place to read a good book.

And the shade was a good place to read a good book.

It makes me wish we lived nearby and could see it in all weather, all seasons.  Good place.  Thanks, Romans.

Roman arena at Arles, France:  the corridor.

Roman arena at Arles, France: the corridor.

You’ve got to hand it to the Romans.  They knew how to build things to last, and that would hold up to scrutiny in all that time.  I love the color palette:  blonde, white, caramel, honey, and every shade of pale.  The thing is that much of what the Romans built is still used for its original purpose.  The roads, built for chariots and foot traffic (including the feet of animals), now ably handle vehicles undreamt of by the roads’ designers.  And so it is in Arles that when we visited, the arena was covered with modern seats and stands for an upcoming concert.

I was much taken by this fossilized shell:

"Once I lived in the water, but for centuries now I've had the most amazing view."

“Once I lived in the water, but for centuries now I’ve had the most amazing view.”

And by the eons of graffiti.

Marks of naughty people through the ages.

Marks of naughty people through the ages.

Somehow the Romans had a knack for the big mix of it all, the big and the small, the great and the lowly, the formal and the rowdy– as my Auntie Betty used to say, “life’s rich pattern.”

 

Christopher had a great idea:  buy an inexpensive guitar and bring it along.  When do you have more time to play than when you’re on holiday?  So he did, and taught me some wonderful things, encouraged me, and then left the guitar behind when he returned home so I could continue to practice.

I persevere, although the gap between how I want to sound/what I want to play and what I do sound like/can play is so great that I’m still plodding on faith.

Practicing a new skill, I am finding, takes as much faith as it takes hard work.  This is one of the big differences between starting young and starting old.  When I was young, I had so much faith I didn’t even know I had any.  It was my default setting:  of course I’m going to learn to do this awesomely!  I always DO.  Many years and some hard knocks later, it’s less of a given.

Kindness and encouragement by the pool.

Kindness and encouragement by the pool.

But when you really do want something, you just keep going.   Ask John Wesley Powell.

Not the face of a quitter.

Not the face of a quitter.

He said it beautifully, at a moment of profound discouragement:

I almost conclude to leave the river. But for years I have been contemplating this trip. To leave the exploration unfinished, to say that there is a part of the canon which I cannot explore, having already almost accomplished it, is more than I am willing to acknowledge, and I determine to go on.

And let’s be honest:  the difference between where I am now and where I was when I was young is more about the grit.  Yes, I had a lot of confidence then that I’ve learned to think better of, but when I tried to play guitar when I was in high school I quit within the first couple of weeks because it hurt too much.  So what I lack in hubris, I’ve gained in tenacity.

Everything here looks like it was painted by Van Gogh.

Across the fields to Capestang, with the church proudly marking the village.

Across the fields to Capestang, with the church proudly marking the village.

We do a lot of standing and staring.

And taking photos.

Standing and looking is all you can do.

At work in Capestang.

At work in Capestang.

Sometimes you just need a new view, a different take on it all.  Here’s what I see out the window in Capestang:

Some countryside.

Some countryside.

Everything looks a little different when you see it from a different angle.

 

100 Day Journey

In which we explore and discover.

Katherine Good

Free teacher ramblings.

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