Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

After days of cold and damp, today is beautifully sunny and in the eighties with a breeze.  The pollen is so thick there's a haze on the air.  Last week, I planted over twenty packs of zinnias outside, and the basil and parsley seeds I planted in little pots on my windowsill have germinated and are looking stronger and taller every day. I'm leaving for France in exactly one week... and it's hard to believe that when I get home, the zinnias will be close to blooming, the basil and parsley will be ready to eat, and my little baby chicks will be looking just like grown-up chickens.

While all that growing is happening here at home, I'll get to see what Spring is like on the banks of the Rance River in Brittany, painting and exploring for the whole month of May!  By a big stroke of luck, I was picked to be an artist in residence in Dinan.  Yvonne Jean-Haffen was a French artist and supporter of the arts.  When she died, she willed her house in Brittany "La Maison de la Grande Vigne" to be a museum, and a tiny stone cottage below the big house "La Vignette" to be an artist residency.  Les Amis de la Grande Vigne is the group that manages the museum and carries out Yvonne's wishes.  Each year they review applications from artists all over the world, and chose 12 - one artist per month - to live and paint in the cottage.

I'm so excited, my mind is already halfway out the door.  I'm afraid the month will pass too quickly, but keep reminding myself that it has plenty of potential to be rich and full.  You never, ever know what could happen, even in a short span of time, in this life.  For example, just last night while I was waitressing, an elderly (in his eighties) diner waved me close down to where he sat at the table.  He said, just above a whisper, "I know why the food is so good."  "Why?" I asked him.  "Because all the girls in the kitchen are virgins; I can tell!"  I burst out laughing, because what else could I do?  Not really an appropriate thing for  him to say, and it does make you wonder about sinister or cultural undertones, but sometimes it's refreshing when people remind you of all the absurdities swirling around in the human imagination and how each moment is brimming with wide-open possibility.

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