Friday, March 07, 2014


Even though I am so very far from the farmette and far from this week's Wisconsin weather (snow), I miss the spring that should be there right now. How long before the last snow melts? Before the ground is warm again? How long before the grass, so ubiquitous and green here, in Brittany, comes out of its brown hibernation back home? How long before I can plant? How long before I can sit on the porch all day long?

Too long.

It is to be another walking day for me, even as I notice that the skies are mostly gray. Except for a band of gold at the horizon.


The forecast says possible showers later on and so I decide to move quickly and to keep the walking down to a loop that can easily bring me back to town in case the rains come down.

So again, a small breakfast -- of honey cake (and I mean honey cake: the ingredients say 40% honey and 10% figs, with buckwheat flour, milk, eggs and butter making up the rest), an apple, and chamomile tea. I am saving the flower and propolis tea for home. Too special to fritter away on a rushed breakfast.


And this time, I head south. First, to town -- to ditch my recyclables. And to take in the town vibe on this nonmarket day. Then, on the quiet rural roads, toward the coastal path.


But here's the thing -- I have hit low tide again! You have to really watch the tides in addition to the skies to hit it right! I have yet to feel the full force of the sea. It's always on the retreat when I approach it.


Never mind: there is always the rugged Breton countryside around me.


This, too, is Brittany.


A year-round harvest of chou and a constant tending to the fields of artichoke.



My long loop brings me back to town. It is early afternoon, but there's  no rain yet. Should I eat now? Oh, the weighty decisions of being elsewhere, shunning routine, indulging in the trivial, so that eating or not to eating becomes the crucial issue before me. Nothing more than that.

I pass a creperie. Is it a good one? It's nearly empty now, but then, I am past the French lunch period. By 2 pm people across this vast country are digesting.

I go inside. There's a set three course meal for 10 Euro. And the buckwheat crepes sound so good!

I see that there is one other person eating at a booth in this rather austere space. A woman my age. We smile and there is a tacit acknowledgement that we are both the silent type. We will be friends in silence.

But I am not without companionship. The family dog comes over and sits stubbornly to my side.


Is he hungry? -- I ask the owner.
Oh no! Just old. And he doesn't hear well.

So I rub his ears fora long while and then ignore him. And at that point he goes to my other eating companion -- the woman sitting alone to the side. He fares better with her.  
Ah, so you're hungry after all! He may be deaf, but he hears that note of invitation. He returns and waits.

I eat my delicious creamy endive soup and then a buckwheat crepe with cheese, egg and salmon, dabbed with salad and the Roscoff onions. With a glass of Brittany cider. (This is one of the few regions of France where apples dominate. No vineyards here. None at all.)


Pooch likes the crepe as much as I do! Satisfied, he lies down next to me with that look of complete gratitude and contentment.

Me, I proceed to the last course -- a dessert crepe with a choice of toppings. That's not hard: local honey!


Of course, this is just lunch. I must think of dinner! And maybe a dessert? And a fresh baguette for the cheese back home? To the bakery then. As always, there comes to be only one bakery. Your favorite bakery. That's not hard. Mine will be the place where madame is so kind, each time asking me something about myself. Each time offering me the warmest smile. I see that they have a lovely Far Breton -- the pastry of the region. Sort of like a flan, loaded with prunes. Perfect.


So that should be the end of the adventurous part of the day. I should retreat now. Read, write -- all that, in my warm little house by the chou fields. But the weather flips on me. Or rather it changes its mind. Rather than raining in the afternoon, the sun comes out and the world takes on honey tones -- ones that become Brittany so much! A sunny day here is such a treat: it reminds you that even the most stern countenance benefits from a smile. So just before dinner, I go out again. In the direction of the coast, though taking a different set of roads.

And I discover the most delightful loop, taking me to the town park -- a gorgeous space, especially now, in the early evening of a full spring day.


Not surprisingly, the grandparents are out, walking their little ones.


Up and down the grand avenue of the park. And then all the way back to town.


Going for a walk -- especially in the evening, or on a day off from work -- that's such a Polish thing! Or perhaps a European thing? Une promenade (fr), una passeggiata (it), spacer (pl)... Why don't we practice the art of the walk back home? We don't even have a good word for it in English. Let's go for a walk. How bland that sounds!

My promenade ends with flowers. And so does this post. Because this is spring. Brittany tells me springs is here.