It’s hard to believe that what seems like yesterday was the day we arrived, exhausted from our year, ready to refuel here in France. But it wasn’t yesterday; it was weeks ago. And now it’s coming, quite sadly, to a close. The days are still warm, but they mask an underlying chill. The sky has that undeniable clarity that means Autumn is setting in. It’s darker earlier. You can feel the year gearing up, and along with it, your own nerves.
For better or worse, it is my tendency to memorialize things. To build shrines. To try and capture moments or entire passages of time. To hold on. This summer’s project began last year at a vide-grenier. For 4 euros, I bought (what I take to be) an antique typographer’s drawer—a wide shallow affair with a vast array of tiny compartments. I cleaned it. Painted it. This summer, quite without purpose, we began collecting things that caught our eye or seemed to contain the very essence of our time spent here. We realized after several weeks, that we had a place to store them, so we began laying them, one by one, into the freshly painted drawer. I’ll hang this somewhere when the filling of it is complete, and keep this amazing summer with me as long as wood and fishing lure, butterfly’s wing and swallow’s egg will endure.
This is the essence of our time in France. And, I hope the essence of this website: to look at things with the observant, meditative eye, not because it is your job to look, but because you can’t help but fall into fascination. To appreciate what you see and, by doing so, to multiply your sense of joy. At least, that’s how it works for me. Time slows down. Filters fall into place, editing out the things that matter so little in the end, so that the smallest, most normal of objects—which accompany us silently through every stage set and act of our lives—become the giants of our contentment and our amazement.