Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21

Cafe Bar Les Alberes

Comme d'habitude? -- she asks. (As always?)
No, not as always -- there's only today and a brief minute tomorrow and then what was 'always' is no more.

And in any case,  Ed has changed his routine. Today it's cafe creme for me and hot chocolate for him -- I say to our very excellent waitress. A minute later she is back and we're delighted to see that this morning we get the little croissants, gratis, as sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not and a positive surprise is always (there's that word again!) a good thing.

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Here's another big and very welcome surprise: the day dawns with sunshine and blue skies. The forecast said rains are coming to Sorede, for just a day. Having avoided them for the better part of two weeks here (with minor early exceptions), it was a shame that we should get them on our last day and now it appears that we are waking up to a brilliant day, sparing us the rains and that feels very lucky indeed.

It continues to be a glorious morning as we make our way with our pains au chocolat to the cafe bar.


I'm thinking -- it's good to know that life goes on in this way in Sorede and that it will continue thus even though we wont be here and somehow it is a huge comfort to know that this is so.


Apart from it being our last day here, it is also one of my most very favorite days of the year -- the long one, the one that gives us most light (in the northern hemisphere) and therefore, in my opinion, most joy...

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...And in France - it gives music. Because if you are in this country on June 21, you're bound to hear music on the streets. (Though they say that many nations now celebrate summer solstice in this way, the Fete de la Musique started in France and so I tend to associate it with this country.)

So in Sorede, unless the rains get in the way, there will be music.

But not yet. I write this early (in my little red book), sitting at my favorite morning spot this side of the Atlantic and whatever may be later, or tomorrow or in the year ahead, this prevailing calm, the Sorede calm, the calm that comes from the breezes that pass by the blooms on the linden tree, is with me now and I tell myself that I must try to take it home, to my real home, the one with the prairie grasses and box elder trees that grow crazily and in a perpetual race with my gardens and our orchards at the farmette.

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[I love this Soredian sun clock! It isn't at all true to the hour, yet it's maintained as if it were a treasure. Isn't that as it should be? Isn't the worth of something determined by how well we care for it?]

Le Racou beach

For once we don't have to weigh the umbrella down with sand. We're at the beach  -- hurry up! the glorious skies wont last! -- and a dainty breeze comes in from the sea,  a refreshing cool breeze -- nothing like the raging winds that made your hair stand on end and caused your umbrella to catapult to the sea.

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I try hard to stay under the umbrella. The sun is not my friend -- I keep reminding myself of this, even as it feels so grand to sink into the pebbly sand and let that sunny warmth spread across my back, all the way down to the heels of my feet. The sand molds and adjusts to all my imperfections, like a made to order bed that is kind to you, your belly, your cheek, your fingers too. It would be so easy to forget about time, forget about Fridays, Saturdays, all days. All that matters is the caress of that warm breeze on your back and the gentle sound of ripply waters.

Ripply waters, ripply waters -- ah yes. We should swim.

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It's not exactly warm in the sea and the ripply waters give a bit of a bounce to the exercise, but I do go in and eventually Ed does as well and I'm surely glad that we had this one last chance to get wet and salty, one last chance...

[Are striped umbrellas *in* this year, or what? Are we behind the times?]


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...before the clouds roll in. Out of nowhere they emerge and we pack our things and head home. Sorede home, stopping at a fruit stand, because it's there and so are we.


And, too, we stop at the supermarket for added cheeses, and of course at the BEST BREAD BAKERY EVER, for a loaf of lunch bread. Anything else?

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Yes, than one!

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Sure enough, the clouds bring rain. By afternoon there is a steady drizzle and we have to thank our hosts once again for building a house with a roofed terrace so that we can eat our lunch without worry about the wetness beyond.

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Well, so we saved the best eating venue for last. Or, perhaps that's not fair -- the best took place every day we were here. But the quintessentially great French cooking certainly was saved until this night. And it delivered.

First of all, my sincere sympathies to the musicians who were planning on filling the square with music tonight: you got rained out. I'm sorry about that. There was much commotion and kid traffic on the square, but it was clear that the rains just stayed too long into the evening for it to be a musical success.

Second of all -- I'm still filled with wonder when I look at the skies and see rain one minute and a beautiful heaven above the next.

Driving down to dinner, we paused by the little vineyard. I nearly cried at the beauty of this little space against the backdrop of a splendid sky. (In truth, I nearly cried very many times today, so you should not use this as a marker of tearful-worthy moments.)

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Dinner at Le Salamandre, the best of the best in Sorede, is superb. It is so late and we have so much to do to get ourselves out of here by daybreak tomorrow, that you'll just have to believe me without the effusive descriptions -- it was a fabulous one-and-only for us restaurant meal in France.

And, too, I provide you with a shot of the owners' newest two month old:


I have to say, this restaurant is astonishing on many, many levels -- not the least of which is the fact that the owners do everything themselves. Just the two of them. How they can cook, seat, clear, attend to, clean, cater, smile, answer questions, etc etc between just the two of them is a mystery -- but they do it perfectly!

It's a grand evening in Sorede. The rains have passed, the air is so squeaky crisp, the promise of the summer is before the lot of them.

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A good season to all of you! And a good year as well!

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Tomorrow, we fly to Italy, though only for a night. Then onto Slovenia.