Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 41: Here Comes the Sun

On bright days a shaft of pure golden sun lights the entry and never fails to enchant me

We had glorious sunny days all week long, even if the temperature wasn't exactly balmy (high 40ºs). In the afternoon the sun goes around to the back of the house and I find myself following it. Sitting in a little patch of light is one way to rejuvenate the spirits.

The sun at mid afternoon lights the stairwell making the colors glow

The foyer of the Rose Room is like a solarium in the early afternoon.

Rick caught me sunbathing in the Green Room window late in the afternoon

Another sign of the changing season is strawberries available at the grocery store. These are from Spain and are almost the size of a tangerine. They remind me of the ones we get in California. Frankly, even if they are quite red and attractive, they are rather tasteless. The best strawberries are small, misshapen and less colored. Natural is always best and someone has definitely been messing around with this variety. Don't the producers know, you don't taste with your eyes?

strawberries and tangerines from Spain and Morocco.

Farid left for Barcelona mid-week and doesn't arrive back until tomorrow. He reports that it was raining there. How strange. We were in Barcelona a year ago to the day. I'm glad Farid could have the opportunity to see this beautiful city. He even attended a basketball game. Certainly the night life there is bound to be a bit more stimulating than in Montmirail.

I worked like a mad woman all week in the studio. At least eight hours a day with only a short lunch break. I am trying to finish some work to submit to several shows coming up in the spring. I am not quite ready to share them yet.

On Saturday I came down with a strong case of cabin fever and simply had to get out into the sunshine. We decided to take a walk in the woods since the paths had had all week to dry. It's been a few months since I ventured down there and I wanted to see what signs of spring were showing themselves. I know I've taken you on this walk before, but never when the trees are still bare. It's a totally different experience this time of year.

On the way we passed by the presbytery, where the village priest used to live before he got too old to be left on his own. The garden is looking neglected. The house is at the corner by the bar and used to be the community salt storehouse in the middle ages. In those days salt was a real luxury item and the main means of preserving foods.

The village presbytery

The forest is below the lowest level of the town. One descends a path I call the rabbit hole, because the branches of the trees bend down on the one side while the hedges on the other reach up, creating a tunnel of foliage. It feels like entering into a fairy tale,

Entering the forest

Leaves litter the ground and the sun gains entry to the path through the tree branches. Rick wasn't sure he wanted to walk in the woods because he likes to keep to the sunny side this time of year. But we found the sun was not hidden at all.

The path we follow was constructed at least 600 years ago.

the path down to the forest floor

I love how the banks curve up on both sides. The forest is almost womb-like.

along the path

There are very few evergreens in the forest, so this time of year everything is so much more open.

one of our few pine trees

One can see the farm houses below the pathway.

looking toward Melleray, the town at the foot of the hill

We found a place on the path where we could look back up at the village and castle. In summer this view is completely obscured.

The castle of Montmirail

A  couple of wild flower varieties have begun to appear on the forest floor. My favorites are the little violets. We found them in small clumps all along the path.


These yellow ones are quite common in our part of France. I haven't been able to identify them.

perky and hardy yellow flowers which bloom into fall

Along the way we saw some happy cows. They had just been fed their hay by Farmer John.

contented cows

We have many beautiful horses in our area as well. It almost looks like Virginia to me.

happy horse

While walking I experienced one of those perfect moments. The kind of moment where everything make sense and all life seems good. All my senses contributed to that feeling, so I can't entirely share it with you, I can only try to describe it, however inadequately. There was the sun on my cheeks, the wind ruffling my hair, the smell of a wood fire, as one of the farmers was burning his slash, four different bird songs ringing through the trees making a kind of symphony as we gazed out upon the peaceful landscape. I melted into the moment, the place, and forgot myself entirely. Always a blessed relief!

The trees cast golden shadows on the pathway. Does it make you want to paint a picture?

shadows along the way

here comes the sun


  1. very nice pictures Nancy! and I agree with you for strawberries, also tomatoes, and any vegetable or ruit which are non local ones or non seasonal ones !
    it is not only a question of taste, also citizenship and health care.
    Many think it is a kind of chauvinism but it is not. Also living with the true rythm of things. We have to wait for breton strawberries, ha ha !

  2. Oh it looks soooooooooo beautiful! Your photo "entering the forest" is quite magical. It really looks like a path to another realm!

  3. Oh Nancy...what a lovely post. I could almost feel the sun when I looked at the photo of you in the window.

    That path is magical..rabbit hole indeed. I expect to see a rabbit in a top hat scurrying along ahead of you. Didn't you do a print of one of those paths once?

    You are right, the horse photo could be similiar.

    I love your blog posts

    Janet xox

    PS...come see my completed kitchen!

  4. How wonderful to take that walk with you in another season!