Autumnal sun

September 23, 2010

Fall and its warm shades is at the door but  Summer does not look ready to leave yet. And why should it ? Both are so enchanting ! The warmth of Summer and the colours of Autumn.

Fall greets us with an early morning fog that the late Summer sun dissolves during the afternoon.

Flowers never seemed as shiny and luminous as now. A bright farewell to their Season as they lead the path to the softer autumnal shades.

What a wonderful  and colourful transition in the year !

A sunflower, tournesol in French which could litteraly mean “turning toward to sun”. This particular sunflower was attracting the late afternoon sun.

Pretty, delicate and fragile,  undulating in the slightest breath of wind, cosmos are in full bloom right now. A real delight for the eyes.

Fog in the Alps comes and goes. Sometimes you think your day will be a rather dull one and all of a sudden sun shines from across the mountains  and lights up the landscape. I often walked along this path and experienced all kind of weather. This changing of mood in nature is a favourite of mine.

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Random views of a morning walk

September 13, 2010

As every day, Nino-the-Beagle and I went for our morning walk. It was still raining a little after the violent storm of the night before.Small drops of water were shining on grass and flowers,   the coolness of the air definitely announced a change of  Season.

There are always the usual stopovers on the way. Nino so enjoys following tracks and investigating them further (down). He loves  digging furiously, puffing and digging again with great insistence. Sometimes he lifts his stubborn and cute head and looks at me as if saying “I know “it’s” here, not far, I’ll get it,  just wait !” And on he goes, digging happily and throwing earth into my shoes.

As he was searching underground, I was looking up to the sky, a lovely blue sky washed by the rain. There was this cloud as big as a vessel sailing towards Northern skies. I wondered where it was heading to and what shape it would take on arrival.

I am always fascinated by the shapes and moves of clouds. Endless transformations.  When the sun shines through them…

… clouds seem to take another dimension, they become more alive with shades, transparency and depth.

Later I stopped at the bottom of this tree and sat on a bench. Above in its branches there used to be a sort of small wooden platform. I never knew  if it was meant for hunters or for bird watchers. As I looked up though I saw only pieces of broken wood, the hut had been  destroyed by the storms or by somebody, I don’t know. It looked a bit desolate.

Nino was beside me looking down – again – at something that seemed to interest him a lot. It was a  stone that looked like a nicely wrapped parcel, a small gift of nature. Maybe this is what he thought too ?  and did not know where to start  opening it and chewing at it 😉

It was getting close to lunchtime. I had a risotto in mind. Those mushrooms were tempting but just not safe enough for me to pick and add them to our meal …

Storm was looming again over the forest and the fields. Dark clouds,  a few drops of rain. It was time to get back home at a fast pace. Which we did but not quite fast enough. Half an hour later we arrived home. Soaked.

Just a few thoughts of a morning like many others, yet different, unique in so many ways even if I know this area.  Unique in the way I felt on that particular day and how I looked around trying to be really present during those privileged moments.

“I am at home, I have arrived

There is only here and now.

I feel strong, really free,

I find refuge in myself.

I am at home, I have arrived”

This is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “the meditative walking”.


Last night I  saw a movie at the cinema, a Franco-Australian fable  called : “The Tree”. Instantly this movie became a favourite of mine. I felt like sharing my enthusiasm and emotion with you and  I made a collage  to illustrate it. The first picture shows  a huge tree I photographed in a park of Melbourne. Apart from its size, it has not much to do really with the immense and symbolic fig tree in Queensland where the story takes place. The second picture is a photo of the film poster featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg (Dawn), the main actress in the movie. More  talented  and natural than ever.

This film is directed by Julie Bertucelli and is based on a novel by Judy Pascoe “Our Father  Who Art in the Tree”. This  delightful movie was presented on the closing night of the Festival de Cannes in France recently and was widely appreciated. Marton Csokas (George) and Morgana Davies, an exceptional and talented young actress (Simone) are amongst  the characters that will be remembered.

The story ? I do not feel like saying too much about it… Just know that the story starts in Australia. Peter and Dawn live happily somewhere in Queensland in the shade of their huge and magnificent fig tree. When Peter dies unexpectely, each member of the family reacts in his or her  own way in order to continue living without their dear partner and father.  Simone, their young daughter of 8 years old, believes her father’s soul lives now in the fig tree.  This little girl illuminates the whole film.

I hope some day you will be able to see  this movie made with a rare sensitivity. Queensland’s lanscapes are breathtaking and the photography in the film  is superb.

baking and reading

September 7, 2010

One morning recently, a good friend called saying she might come and visit with a common friend of ours during the afternoon. I decided to bake a cake I quite enjoy for its flavour first and then because it is so easy to prepare. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it :

ALMOND PIE

For a round baking tray (middle size)

1 pack of puff pastry

200 gr (2 cups 1/4) of  ground almonds

2 eggs

1 cup 1/2 of sugar

1 cup of milk

1 tsp of cinamon

1 pinch of salt

Mix all these ingredients

Then roll out the pastry on the baking tray (use a fork to make a few holes on the pastry)

Spread the ingredients you prepared onto the pastry

Pre-heat the oven at 200/230 °C (400-450°F)

Cook for 25 minutes

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving

This pie tastes even better if you bake it one day in advance.

Some of you may think my almond pie looks a bit “burnt”… Well, almost but not really. I can assure you it tasted delicious ! And why should it look like this ?? That’s the question. You see, I was reading. A specially dangerous chapter that kept me totally concentrated on the story. At the same time I vaguely smelled something just as dangerous coming from the kitchen 😉 “Oh ! mon gâteau” (my cake) ! I rushed to the kitchen, book in hand of course (in case I would forget it somewhere on the way…) and I saved the almond pie from a very hot oven. Then I went on reading waiting for my friends.

“Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow” by Peter Hoeg is the book I was reading with great interest and more as “le gâteau de Babette” (Babette’s cake) was in the oven and requesting immediate attention ! I could not have been further from my kitchen. In fact Smilla, the fascinating main character in this book, was secretly –  and dangerously –  going aboard a ship in the darkest night you can imagine.  She was persistent in doing her own investigation about a mystery death. The story takes place in Denmark (Copenhagen) and Greenland, two countries I don’t  read about enough and I thought this book would be a good opportunity. It was, definitely so. And much more than that! This reading just cut me off from my surroundings for a few days, so exciting was the story. It is not a recent book, I had heard and read about it but somehow had missed  it. Now it is done and I thorougly enjoyed its reading. I hope some of you did too or will do so soon !

Pieces of a quilt – 1

September 2, 2010

Like moments in a life. A WIP or work in progress that I will share with you as memories come back and inspiration helps them  taking  shape.  I will try to blend in memories, my own perceptions of events together with fabrics, colours, patterns. Anything that will help illustrating someone´s life.

Circles that could be the years of a life,  like tree rings. They appear smooth and regular although some entangled rays  encircle those rings. They are  joyfully radiating from the core of this life and also somehow confusing in their dispersed directions. Life in its fullness.

In the South the light is bright at sunset;  a few drops of  rain have refreshed the  valley. A day of laughter and smiles, and maybe  also of tears and darker thoughts.  Life is never a long quiet river. One goes through so many emotions during a lifetime.

Then  in the morning the sun  shines anew over the luxuriant vegetation; a bright sun of hope whose rays warm one´s heart.  Dreams may come true.