Nine hours of bread: part one
We began the day with a drive that climbed high into the hills north of town, taking increasingly tiny roads and finally arriving at the hamlet of Cauduro for their bread feast. I have a weakness for tiny roads and secrets to be discovered, and this day’s outing was a dandy example.
Wildflowers in the garrigue
Spring has been teasing us this year, sprinkling a few days of warm sunshine into a cauldron of high winds, cloudy days, and occasional rain. This has all paid off nicely, though, with an abundance of long-lasting wildflowers.
But first, what’s a garrigue?
I live in the garrigue of southern France, and like any other environment, it leaves its mark on those who live here; for me, this is especially true of the look of the land and the smells and tastes of this region.
I’m an artist, and my life is all about creativity. I am visual. I see a lot. And while I photograph many different subjects, one of my favorite things to do with a camera is abstract work. With abstracts, the need to tell a story relaxes a bit, and the photograph becomes much like a blank greeting card: it provides space for the viewer to create her own story.
A cool blue evening and a rich coral sunset provide the setting for this graceful branch in “The Last of the Almond Light.”
Spring has sprung!
A few days ago, I knew that spring was really here to stay when I noticed tiny spots of young spring green on the local grapevines. But in truth, spring has been teasing us for weeks now.
It began in February with the almond trees. It wasn’t like this last year, my first in the area. Last year, the flowers began to appear in January, were quickly hit with a hard frost, and that was the end of the almond bloom. This year, the trees waited a full month longer, and wow, did they put on a show. I’ve never lived near almond trees, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop; I didn’t know which way to look, and it kept getting better. One day I was out driving, and I realized that the fields and hills were dotted with what appeared to be little puffballs, soft white with a hint of pink. Everywhere I turned, puffballs. It was the almond trees, in full bloom, and it was enchanting.
When I was in high school, one of my favorite times of the school year was Homecoming. A big dance, a football game, cheerleaders, the queen and the king, the marching band… And the parade. Every class created a float for the homecoming parade, and my class was pretty darn good at making floats. We’d get together to come up with ideas and after that we’d sketch out designs; the fun really began once we were ready to start building that float. Every year, for four years, we built our float at Cami’s house, because her family had the absolutely perfect float-building setup. For a few weeks, we’d all go there after school and on the weekends, to socialize and put things together and socialize and paint and socialize. Those were golden moments wrapped in fun and problem-solving and hard work, and I remember all of it with great fondness.
I spent the Christmas and New Year holidays with my cousins, who live in Singapore. They’d invited me for a visit, and did a stellar job of hosting me, showing me around Singapore and bustling me off to Malaysia for a week. I offer you a rewrite of a few scribbled diary-like notes, plus some photographs that cannot begin to convey the atmosphere. If only I could figure out how to create a digital scratch-and-sniff photograph that could move beyond rich visuals to include multi-sensory scratches for the strange and tantalizing scents, the mix-tape of sound, myriad flavors, and the heavy weight of non-stop heat and humidity.