Tuesday, May 10, 2011

two more beautiful days

La Maison de la Grande Vigne is the big house
in the treetops.  La Vignette, where I stay, is
the little cottage below.
Nettles are everywhere along the paths here!
stairway out of the forest
Yesterday, I took the path back through the woods to the dairy farm and painted the Holsteins.  This time I left the bike at home. I realized it's difficult to paint outside here because of the changing weather.  The light and shadows are dramatically different from one moment to the next.  My painting didn't amount to much, but I had a good time anyway, soaking up the sun and watching the cows happily eating the grass.  On the way back home, I collected a whole bunch of wildflowers to paint.

And then in the evening, I took a bike ride on the sandy path by the river.  Who would think you could set out at 9 o'clock at night in broad daylight?  It felt like I was dreaming... the air was so still, and a little bit chilly like the first night you would build a fire in the fall, but still warm enough to hold the smell of wild onions, damp earth, fish, and flowers as pungent as concord grapes.  The water was like an enchanted mirror, with flopping fish breaking its surface every once in a while, and birds galore... invisible song birds twittering in the bramble, white sea gulls arching silently against the trees, crows cawing, and the hoarse voices of mourning doves cooing for mates.  I passed under a huge old tree with light cottony seeds floating down gently from the branches like fireflies, and then looked up to see a big tangle of mistletoe.  On the way back, darkness was really starting to sift down, and I liked the way all the wild primroses still had their five pale pink petals open, bright against the blackening edge of the woods.  

Today, I painted in the studio until Madame Gaillais, one of Les Amis de la Grande Vigne picked me up.  She took me to her garden, because she told me she had a lot of roses she thought I might like to paint.  Her garden was beautiful, and after I had chosen a spot to sit and paint, she brought me two cherries from her cherry tree.  She asked me if I had eaten any cherries straight off the tree yet this year, and I said no.  And so she told me I must make a wish after eating the cherries.  They were delicious.  Then she sent me home with a bouquet of roses.  One of them is called Marie Curie and it smells so sweet!
Mme Gaillais in her garden

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