August 25, 2015
Summer is not over yet but the extreme heat we had just a few weeks ago is gone. We are left with memories of hot, very hot days. Like during a late afternoon when the sun shone brightly through the window and reflected its rays in a mirror. How grateful I was to dear Dena who had sent me a beautiful and exotic fan for my birthday which, of course, was a delight to use !
Lawns were rather neglected this year but not all flowers. Here in front of our hospital a flowerbed was being watered. I was surprised to spot two unexpected plants… Will you find the odd ones out ? Fresh looking “intruders” indeed.
In the blue Summer sky, silent visitors flew along with a light wind they only seemed to feel and breathe. Underneath the heat was sometimes unbearable but what a lovely sight !
The pleasure of reading Amanda Enayati’s book in the shade : “Seeking Serenity”.
“In your world, mind and body,
Use mindfulness to heal and transform the brain, and its ability to cope in stressful situations.”
One of the ten rules on your road map for health and happiness in the age of anxiety. A much-needed guide to these difficult times. I really enjoyed this book as well as the beautifully embroidered bookmark made with care by my friend, Janice. http://janiceheppenstall.com/blog
Barriers, fences, walls and other man-made obstacles are bound to be crossed, aren’t they ? Those were my thoughts as I looked at the clematis flowers meant to grow along the green metal fence. And yet, quite naturally, they went over… A Summer of crossing borders, deserts and seas for so many people.
Even my energetic Nino was affected by this particularly hot Season. He squatted my couch in the shade. We finally came to an agreement and each of us found its place.
Maybe you can feel the heat that had accumulated on the stones of this old house. It could be quite cool inside though because of the narrow windows and the width of the walls. I liked the plant and colored scarf that added a hint of freshness.
My favorite time of the day was at sunset. The air was still warm from all the sun, even in the mountains but there was a touch of coolness and of course the brilliant light behind the Alps, the sun rays on the old wooden shutters made it a special moment. Every evening.
April 20, 2015
Over two months have passed since I wrote last. As I explained in a comment on my previous post, https://isathreadsoflife.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/of-colors-and-winter/, I will not be able to visit you and write as much as I would wish. Therapies are going on, tiredness is still overwhelming but there are days when I feel stronger; the urge to go out and see nature and Spring brings me outside. Luckily so ! I always enjoy it, no matter the temperature, sun, wind or rain. It feels real good.Sight. One of the first senses of Spring one feels over here is certainly the view of the shy and fragile snowdrops emerging from a cold soil and opening to the morning sun. A familiar and yet always enchanting view. Smell. A visit to the nearby farmers’ market brings many delicious surprises these days. Amongst them, a bunch of tarragon, a sweet scented herb that I like adding to fish or some vegetables like green beans. Taste. And what about the fresh and appealing leeks ? I like them stewed and served with a vinaigrette or as a “gratin” with potatoes and a light béchamel sauce. Hearing. Can you actually hear them ? Your may not see them though, those lively and noisy birds celebrating Spring in a joyful concerto “con molto brio”. They are back from wherever they went to, jumping in and out of their little wooden house in the garden. Delightful Spring sounds. Touch. A gift I brought back home as I came out of hospital. A special heart sewed by women for other women. A heart-shaped cushion, so soft and light, that is meant to nest gently under your arm, ease the pain and warm your heart and soul. It was so touching and appreciated ! Much gratefulness to you, ladies of the “Cushions of the heart” group.
Wishing you all a Happy Spring ! Moments of joy when the birds sing “good morning” to you, wonder and peace as the tender green shades of the Season tell you about renewal and a real delight to taste the great variety of fresh salads and veges.
February 9, 2015
Don’t we all need colors in Winter ? More colors than the occasional yellow or red leaves that highlight a green bush ? Thanks for them Colours that strike you vibrantly and bring a smile Colours that make you blink as if the sun had hit your eyes Or as if a rainbow from elsewhere would bend down gently over you to warm your heart I send you the gift of a quilt I sewed recently, digging into my scraps boxes with the utmost pleasure. I will be kept away from my window to yours for a while. Should you wish to send me a message, it will definitely bring more colors to one of those mailboxes, and to the other too since they are so close together. Wishing you all the best. With love Isabelle
January 21, 2015
My father, my dear father passed on December 30th, 2014. He left us all, family and friends in deep sorrow. My heart is heavy with grief and at the same time I am so grateful for all his love, tenderness and generosity. The many wonderful memories I have of the moments, the years spent with my Dad and family give some comfort in these days of separation and they will accompany me every day. My father – and my mother – were never so happy as when their cherished “clan” was around them. Especially when their four grandsons were there.
Better than all I could tell you, I imagined you may like to read a few excerpts of the thoughts and feelings his four grandsons shared with the family and close friends during our farewell ceremony in the chapel.
“It was such an honor to be your grandson ! You have been an example that I will strive to follow all my life. Kindness, humility, courage, you were witty and generous, you were all this and much more. I will always remember how the Epicurean you were loved to share good meals with us, traditional or refined. You left us with dignity, head high, like the Lion you were, proud but wise and never complaining. I love you so ! (JF)
“Our grandfather was a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse where to look at in times of trouble. You showed us what moral rectitude and respect for anyone meant. What I learned through my grandfather’s kindness was his infinite tenderness, the mark of an unconditional love. A united family : this is the Great Work of our grandfather, a heritage I will continue to cherish with you. (JB)
You are the grandfather everyone would have wished to have and whom I was lucky enough to have. Today we are separated physically, our pain is immense. However I feel that our sorrow will be appeased because I know you are in good hands. If Jesus takes as good care of you as you did of us, then your eternal stay in His company will be beautiful. Dear granddad, I send you millions of kisses. (V)
“The last thing you told me was :
“I so wish I could walk again !”
Well, this wish I will realize for you
You will walk, run, jump, even swim
Because now I will bring you with me
Wherever I go and keep you in my heart always”
(composed, sung and played with his guitar in a rap style by A.)
One of my father’s favorite desserts : an espresso coffee with almond liqueur and chocolate ice-cream.
Merci papa, for all you were. We love you. Farewell to a place away from our eyes but in our heart you will remain.
December 24, 2014
December 19, 2014
Why not take time to watch the sun through the branches and look more closely at some small wild flowers barely visible between the rough stones of an old wall ? Pinks and whites and rust emerge through the cracks.
Exotic trees and luxuriant plants growing quietly against a shaded brick wall. A secluded garden may reveal more wild beauty.
No flashing colors and bright lights of the Season here, no noisy and busy places, just a hint of a Light or a Star leading the way to Christmas ?
Beauty also lies in the less visible, the shy and persistent grasses blushing under my curious and admirative look.
The old castle, deserted on a sunny afternoon, offering a moment of peace and lending its walls to plants that only need a bit of earth, sun and rain to come back to life and bloom.
On the way back to the city center, a narrow paved alley, a bridge between times and places, a contrast of shades and construction with the beautiful resilience of nature.
October 17, 2014
On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !
The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.
Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.
I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.
Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.
Another moment to remember of this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.
What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”
September 7, 2014
Jaun, a small village in the Gruyère area of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. Its cemetery, known for the beautiful woodcarvings built on each grave, depicting the life of the deceased, adds to the charm of this mountain village. I believe, these sculptures may be unique in Europe. They were created on the initiative of Walter Cottier, a self taught resident who passed in 1995. Other village artists have continued creating this most unusual artwork. I was there last week with friends and took some pictures to share with you
Jaun’s church is surrounded by many wooden tombs, each as different as the villagers were.
Another person who was remembered in the cemetery was a hunter. Between other words on his tomb I read : “Arbeit war Dein ganze Leben/Work was your whole life”.
How could one forget the grocer ? The lady who sold all that was needed, as well as daily bread ?
Another sculpture was dedicated to a lorry driver, an important person in this mountain village. He would have transported wood beams, all kinds of goods, stones, and any heavy materials people needed.
Family members, friends who are still missed, who added their share to the life and history of the village and who now rest in peace in this lovely alpine setting. They are certainly honored in a beautiful way.
Inside the church, the late afternoon sun was shining softly on a stained glass window.
One can learn so much about the life of a village – or any place – while visiting such a cemetery. Like a book whose pages you would slowly turn with wonder and respect. My gratitude goes to the village artists who keep memory alive.
August 21, 2014
Before Fall arrives, let me show you the flowers of my Summer.
Flowers like sun just has much as they need rain. They got a lot of rain these past months, whether in the alpine meadows, like here, or in gardens, along forest paths, everywhere vegetation has been growing and blooming wildly.A bush heavy with rain and bending towards the countless petals its flowers just lost. Impernanence of all things and beings.Like a flamenco dancer, the poppy is spinning its red dress in the early morning sun.I like the late afternoon sun over these wild flowers, their pink shades glowing in the warm light..The view I always enjoy : a garden shed surrounded by a shower of yellow wild flowers. They were preceded by long golden grasses and followed by small bushes in pink and blue shades. A patch of wilderness in the garden.The beauty of natural amethysts on the terrace. Clematis flowers have bloomed and bloomed, never tired of unfolding their soft petals.
This gorgeous yellow bouquet was given to me for my birthday last June. Flowers that meant a lot and that brightened up my home for many days.
Summer flowers, colours of joy, colors in sad times. Friends passed in the recent months. An ancient chapel where we prayed, a rose bush growing in front of one of its windows, the touch of color that brings back warm memories.
I hope your Summer is full of flowers, colorful bushes, hedges where birds sing, woods with scented violets, natural meadows, paths bordered with sage, wild fennel and thyme. I hope you are enjoying Nature in all its beauty.
August 1, 2014
My Summer is busy over here, too busy, not enough time for taking pictures unfortunately. I apologize for not posting more regularly. I thought why not look into my archives and find some pictures I like and write a post around them ? Let’s go to Australia, Victoria, an area I visited a few years ago and let’s imagine the thoughts behind the images. Melbourne, the Immigration Museum. A beautiful desk aboard a ship sailing to a faraway world. Someone had been sitting there and writing home. I imagine he or she was writing home about the long, so long travel to the other side of the world. The various feelings one tried to express in a letter : sadness of leaving behind family members, maybe and a place called home, the hope of a new future, seasickness, meeting other immigrants, limited place to live all together… And certainly a lot more personal feelings and messages. Melbourne, a large avenue in the center. A coffee shop. At first I thought : “Why such a difficulty choosing from all those similar bags of oranges ?” But then maybe this man’s indecision comes from choosing from the various snacks or meals sold in the shop ? St-Kilda near Melbourne. A bus stop. Those words scribbled on a board: “What is essential is invisible to the eyes. It is only with the heart that one sees clearly” . Did the person who wrote this quote just read St-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince” and liked it or was he/she in a particular mood which inspired these thoughts ? Maldon, Victoria, is a notable town for its 19th century appearance, maintained since the gold-rush days. As I walked in front of this porte-cochere, I thought how relieved travelers must have been to finally find a place to stop, eat and rest after a long journey by stagecoach. Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. An oasis of peace in the middle of this large busy city. I stopped there just to look at my city-map, eat a snack or just give a break to my tired feet. Someone was sitting nearby, reading. In front of me a man was also sitting, quite immobile, meditating maybe or lost in his own thoughts ? Or taking a nap ?
Do you sometimes wonder what thoughts or situations hide behind your images ?