And so my parents left Toulon, on the Mediterranean coast. They now live in a small prettyish town on the river Seine. Black alders grow on its banks, tall poplars heavily laden with gleaming mistletoe. There is a cold and beautiful medieval collegiate church which looks like Notre-Dame-de-Paris’ little sister.
It is very far from Toulon.
Does it matter ? And why does it feel like something or someone somewhere died or was forgotten ?
Soon February will be on me, with its arrows of light. It will be pins and needles inside my head, and longing, longing, longing.
Oh, to see them again as they walk time through the sky, from one light to another – Mount Caume, Mount Faron, Mount Coudon. And crushed thyme on limestone hill paths.
I am trying to write a novel. It would feature an old English cottage garden and Cotswolds rolling hills. A beloved home under thick trees, and how to leave it. I am trying but not succeeding. One can only write about things that sit through one’s heart, or lungs, or guts. At least, it is the case for me.
End of April. Plane trees – platanus hispanica – are now sailing along in the clear morning light. Horse chestnut-trees and paulownias have reached the peak of their beauty.
The time of the euphorbia has passed. The time of the wisteria is drawing to an end.
(Euphorbia near Pernety, purple wisteria in Rue des Thermopyles, white wisteria in my street)
In the gardens, bind weed is awakening : awe.
Ivy-leaved toadflax finds its way in small cracks in the pavements, and is now flowering : joy.
Over the Channel, in my small Canterbury garden, are the peonies in full bloom ? Have the Siberian irises come to grow and thrive ? Or did the Kentish summer draught bring their young shoots down ? Voices too thin to carry over the sea, however strong the wind.
Longing for silence and light to the swift morning breeze I commend my desire – may it fly to Southern shores where grow their hearts and mine alike
plane trees vast as a summer sky
How I now fear that my parents will leave the Mediterranean town I have come to call home.
That one could dwell under mountains born by the sea, among rocks and flora interwoven in an unmistakable treasure of light, that one could walk paths of thyme and rosemary in a landscape of limestone beauty, and envisage to leave them is beyond me.
To the great pines standing still under the Summer halt, and whispering in the evening breeze, that one could say farewell ?