I woke up this morning with a sense of daylight, although our bedroom was filled with shadows and dreams. I wondered what time it was and padded on bare feet into my office, opening the windows to smell the dawn. It still carried the scent of rain that began the previous evening, and the clean, wet smell of earth, and stone, and the forest just beyond the village. As I wrote this, the bell tower clock struck the hour, one…two…three…four…five…six…seven… eight, each hour of the new day rung with its own sound, as if separate one from the other. But they are not.
I am learning how fluid time is. We track it with hands on a clock, digital read outs on our cell phones, and the voice of Alexa saying in a seductive voice “It’s eight a.m.,” as if she lives with us. But when I am still, I can feel time marked by each beat of my heart, and the rhythm is different, thump-thump…thump-thump…thump-thump. It is alive and intimate.
When we first arrived in Le Broc, time seemed to unfold like a promise. Just imagine, two months in a village in the south of France with commitments to no one but myself. My plan was to complete the second draft of my memoir, Whole of Life, and I may just do that. But life has unfolded in unexpected ways, as it does wherever we are. I have shared with you the three stages of initiation, separation, ordeal and homecoming, but each stage has many layers, and the boundaries between them are permeable.
We have less than two weeks left, and I can feel how much homecoming also includes separation…from our sweet apartment with its east-facing windows open to a world we have come to love, this village, and its people who have become friends. Flavio owns the Italian grocery store, and drives across the border to Italy every Thursday morning to get fresh produce. Christoff serves espresso in the morning at his bar to go with our fresh croissants. Arnaud prepares gourmet dinners in his restaurant next to the bar, with just enough tables for sixteen customers. Marc and Domi have hosted our out-of-town guests at their B&B, and invited us to an annual fruits-de-mer celebration.
I want to savor it all. Nothing should be missed, not the longing for home, for friends and family, and seeing my clients again, as well as saying good-by to the life here that has been so precious.