Friday, December 31, 2010

In a whisper, up the mountain.

December 31, Saint-Ismier.

A friend for life came by in a whisper but long enough to go visit another, immutable, incisive, impertinent and inquisitive, a friend since high school too, he the teacher, we not yet quite on our way into the world. Bernard now retired; he's never ceased to be a friend.
We watched DVDs of live music and the kids fell asleep on the couch long before we stopped watching.
We went walking above the village with his mare, and Dylan and Nicolas went bare-back riding on Lady and I went sliding in the snow.
We bought pizza on the street from a guy who looked like Santa and we ate it on the train.
We arrived on Wednesday and left on Thursday.
The year is almost over and the smell of the horse after she rolled in the snow stays with me, and the flashing joy of friendship too I want to keep.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Out-takes (a trip in France - Paris hotel.)

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Out-takes (a trip in France - Christmas window.)

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Out-takes (a trip in France - the Loire castles.)

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Out-takes (a trip in France - portraits.)

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Out-takes (a trip in France - the Riviera.)

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Camera, Christmas.

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

Finally a camera.
I was like a fish without water, without a camera (Fridman took my little pocket one with him when he left.) Last minute shopping before Christmas so that there will be memories to look at, too, and so I can see.

White Christmas.

December 25, Saint-Ismier.

It was a white Christmas here, in this surprising white winter, snow storm after snow storm in this country where I don't remember even one in forty years, climate change is wrecking havoc many say, and whatever it is holiday travelers hate it and the kids love it. It was a white Christmas, and probably the first they'll truly remember. Last week we built a snowman, it melted since but tomorrow we might build another one. Today was all toys and books and new movies, running around in pajamas, and I too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friends and saviors.

November 28, Paris.

But there was a birthday party with home-made brioche and cake, and a thirty-year-old friendship still.
At Anne and Edgar's Fred and I celebrated our birthday, which is on the same day although she is one year older, so we've been celebrating since she was sixteen and I fifteen, and Flo was there too, and my family united, for a joyful ending to a whirlwind visit home.

Paris blues.

November 27, Paris, France.

It should have been so wonderful, the cream of the trip, after the South of France, where I grew up, full of memories finally shared, Bordeaux and our circus friends, and the Loire chateaux all drafts and stones in a fitting shroud of cold gloomy weather, it should have been the coronation of the first trip to France for Fridman, his first step outside the United States since finally gaining his green card.
Our Paris stay was all that and then a bitter disappointment. It was an illusion shattered, and I was left with a bitter feeling of shame and treachery. The free country where I grew up, the country that bills itself, still, "France, land of asylum," looking down on my husband as one more intruder to be suspicious of, his skin being of the wrong - still! here! - color.
Following: conversations with Edgar, my friend Anne's husband, born and raised in Colombia, living in France for sixteen years now and still reeling under daily nags and inconveniences, from police to waiters, and the rest of my illusions disappearing like my breath in the cold cold Paris air of this winter of my comforts.
Paris blues, my French shame.
Where to now?