Remembrance and gratitude

A century has passed
World War I was officially over 100 years ago. The Armistice to end that terrible war—but then, aren’t they all?—was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, hence 11:00 a.m. on 11 November 1918.

During the commemoration ceremony here in our little town, children read the names of the local soldiers who never came home, and put one candle on the monument for each of the dead. The mayor gave his speech, which included a recital of the official casualties from each country involved in the war (note: you can look up this information online. The numbers are quite simply devastating.). Our local choir sang some songs, including the Marseillaise, and two wreaths were placed on the memorial, one placed by the mayor to represent France, and one placed by a British man and a man from New Zealand, representing the Allies. It was all beautifully done.

Remembrance Day 2018
Top left, two of the flag bearers get ready to don their white gloves for the short parade, which leaves the promenade at the center of town, climbs up to cross the bridge, and then drops back down to the war memorial. Bottom left, the mayor has placed the wreath representing France, which is followed by the wreath representing the Allies.

 


 

Photo gallery: grape leaves
My friends wanted to show me a pigeonnier (dovecote in English) that stands nearby, so we bundled into their car and drove about 15 minutes to where it stands looking out over rows of grapevines. The grapes have long since been harvested, and now the leaves are showing off their snazzy autumn colors. Out came the camera! Below are some photographs from that day, and here’s a link to many more photographs of autumn colors in my shop: http://bit.ly/LVAutumnColors

Babio Pigeonnier
The pigeonnier (dovecote) at Babio, dating to roughly the 17th-18th centuries.

 

Orange Rows
The view from inside the pigeonnier, looking out at the grapevines.

 

Grape leaves, 1
“Pink Veins” stand out in the leaf photo at left. The leaf at right looks like “Glowing Embers.”

 

Grape leaves, 2
More of those fascinating leaf veins in “Crackle.” A few small clusters of grapes had been left “Unpicked.” And some fine detail in “White Zigs.”

 

Brown Charlie Brown
The brown and orange zigzags remind me of Charlie Brown’s T-shirt (from the Peanuts comic strip), hence “Brown Charlie Brown.”

 


 

The gift of one day
I heard this quote, and it has stayed with me for several weeks: Treat each day as if “it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.”

The words are from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, and they are spoken in a gorgeous short film by cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg titled Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Give yourself the gift of these 10 minutes, and see how the film changes your approach to daily living. Here’s a link:


 

My new favorite movie
If you live a creative life, or have any interest in art, or you’re looking for a great movie to watch tonight, I encourage you to watch the film Face Places (French: Visages Villages; it’s subtitled in English).

Released in 2017, it’s a documentary by a legend of the French cinema, Agnès Varda (89 years young), and JR, a 34-year-old photographer/street artist who lives a peripatetic life in a van that doubles as a photography studio.

The two artists have teamed up in a most unexpected way, and they rove the French landscape in that van to find interesting subjects for their project. Along the way, they get to know each other, and we get to know them just a little bit. With joyous abandon, they throw themselves into their journey, embracing both the specifics of making a film about making art, as well as the general sense of the journey of life.

You have never seen another film like this one, and it will touch your heart. It is full of warmth, respect, discovery, humor, and all the unexpected surprises in a project that involves interviewing strangers and turning them into friends. I have no doubt that I will watch this film many times over.


 

Parting shot
In the United States, it’s nearly Thanksgiving. On the surface, this is a holiday about people coming together to create bounty when they once thought there was nothing. Or wait, maybe it’s a holiday about time off work, watching football on TV, and eating a lot. I’m not sure.

I like to think of it as a good reminder to take a deep breath and express gratitude. There is so very much to feel grateful for, and people’s lists of blessings are as unique as their fingerprints. What are your top three? I’d so enjoy seeing people post their lists here—what a splendid way to send those blessings out to the universe! (Plus I love reading things like that.)

I’ll get the ball rolling by saying what I’m grateful for: people, life, creativity.

  1.  Always, always, my number one is the people in my life. It’s you, and it’s also people who aren’t reading this blog. It’s all the people who touch my life and give me the gift of their presence. There is nothing greater that a person can give, and it is my greatest treasure.
  2. Being alive, in this body, in this place, in this time. My life is a gift for which I am grateful every day.
  3. I have long believed that I was created to live a creative life. Creativity is what gets me out of bed in the morning, and it’s what drives my days. Finding the art, making something new, or solving a problem: it’s all about creativity, and creativity is the place where my heart sings.

Thus, I thank you for your presence in my life, and I honor you for who you are.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Plumpkin
“Plumpkin,” Thanksgiving 2017.

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