July 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
I am back on my blog! Moving West has been a great adventure so far but it has taken all my attention and energy. Which is why I haven’t posted since…last March (Oh my! That long?).
So, thinking that Independence Day is a good day to post about one of my favorite source of inspiration: colors, here are two pictures taken a few days ago in Santa Fe and in Laramie, where visiting beautiful southwestern Wyoming on the occasion of our 30th anniversary, Peter and I stopped by on a very bright sunny day.
Have a happy 4th of July in Red, White and Blue!
March 24, 2014 § 2 Comments
I am back. Back to blogging. Back on the road. Again New Hampshire to Santa Fe. Taking a different road this time.
Some of my entries will have more text, others just pictures and captions.
The past few days have been exhausting and I will write more about this soon. So for today I’ll just give you a couple of photos:
We drove down to New York City, stayed in Manhattan for 3 days and left yesterday for our road trip. This is the first picture I took from our car, with my iphone.
It was still so cold today. 34 degrees at lunch time in Woodstock, VA.
The forecast for tomorrow: “Blizzard watch” starting at 4am. Planning a late morning departure for North Carolina. Will there be Spring one day?
October 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
It has been a little over a week since the moving truck miraculously, as it seemed for us, found our driveway and delivered our old household goods and treasures from across the country.
We drove over two thousand miles with a car loaded with last minute additional stuff, so many years after the last covered wagon brought settlers westward over a long and treacherous journey, carrying only the bare essentials to start a new home.
In the past year I had been reading journals and letters from pioneer women, fascinated by the stories of their feats, misadventures and tribulations over months-long cross country trips of a lifetime. I have thought of them often since we left our New England home three weeks ago. Of course there are many obvious differences between what they had to put up with and what my husband and I have experienced on the journey. Obvious because of the progress in transportation, communications, safety, accommodations, and all those things we take for granted now. However there is one thing that was not at all obvious for me at first: the now indispensable help of the internet.
Every day since we arrived in Santa Fe, we have relied on our cell phone internet connection for information that would have taken months to gather from friendly, welcoming neighbors, local word of mouth, or through multiple trials and errors.
Where is the closest Home Depot? How do we dispose of our trash; where do we recycle so many cardboard moving cartons? Where and when do the local farmers’ markets take place? Where is the best breakfast place in town? What does a black widow spider look like, or tips on bread baking in high altitude. A few samples of the questions we constantly have asked Siri, and even if she was fairly reliable, unlike a local old timer she didn’t answer with a local accent (we got good laughs at how she pronounced street addresses like “Camino del Cielo” or “Calle Acequia Baja,” for example).
So now what kind of questions can we come up with to have a pretext to meet our neighbors, to hear the local lore, to listen to the views of an old local sage who brings unique, quirky insights on the community, to exchange and compare views on our respective backgrounds. To make friends who, as our neighbors back in New England, might one day come to the rescue when bad weather strikes, or bring vegetables from their garden surplus; whose wayward dog we can safely return to them from our yard; or just to shoot the breeze when we are all out in our driveways?
We can always Skype with our old friends and neighbors back in New England, but no matter how strong the signal is around here the Internet will not bring us close to our new neighbors the way a knock on their door will.
October 15, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you want to have breakfast on the road after you leave Lubbock on your way to Amarillo be prepared to drive about 50 miles before you find a place that will serve anything to eat. Mile after mile we saw nothing but flat land, a couple of small towns, cotton gin plants, farm equipment and truck parts garages, grain mills and their railroad, abandoned homes and gas stations. Hungry and with our eyes fixed towards the roadsides or the seemingly never ending road straight ahead on the horizon, we sat silently, feeling like total strangers in this bleak end of the world. A place where no one goes anywhere or lives for much.
Finally, in the town of Plainview, past New Deal, we saw a couple of fast food signs and stopped at an IHOP. It was chilly, 48 degrees, with a biting wind and still overcast, but warm inside, serving a hot breakfast.
An hour or so later the sun came out on the plains. Looking forward to a walk in the fresh air, we went to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo.
And tonight we stay at The Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, our last night before Santa Fe and our new home …
A colorful Texas motel,
complete with a horse hotel,
And to top it all off a glorious evening sky…
October 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
Back on the road today, we drove from Austin to Abilene to Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle. At last, away from the Interstate, the road was quiet and the landscape peaceful. The sky was overcast with heavy rain or drizzle so we got to see Texas in unusual weather.
Peabody’s restaurant in Goldthwaite was a bet but it turned out to be a great find. The place looked like a modern concrete and steel barn, industrial decor at its most authentic, where farmers on lunch break where catching up on the topic of the week: the rain!
We could have been in 1970, 80, 90, 2000 or now, no way to tell for sure. Best choice on the menu: a juicy, fluffy slice of meatloaf made by the wife of the restaurant’s buffet server, with ‘tatoes and white gravy, corn bread and glazed carrots…. and mmm, it was good!
Later, back in the car, my husband woke me up around Roscoe to see that we were driving through what turned out to be one of the largest wind farm in the world. We would have never thought that in the Oil State alternative energy projects were also Texas size!
The landscape changed as we neared Lubbock. Oil wells with their dutiful jack pumps bowing regularly appeared all around us in the middle of backyards, cotton fields, parking lots and abandoned plots.
And in Lubbock, after a steak dinner and
as there was not much else to do, we finally checked in for the day,
but not before taking one or two last pictures, in Red, White and Blue!
October 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
Another 8 hours on the road and we finally arrived in Austin, TX tonight for a 3 day visit with our son and his fiancee.
This is the second weekend of Austin City Limits festival, so the city is buzzing, packed, and traffic getting into Austin was… actually not so bad!
We are too tired to venture out of our place this evening so we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to get an idea of what this is all about, as bystanders of course, because we don’t have tickets for any of the events.
Anyway, the drive from Little Rock, AR to Austin provided some exposure to local flavor and surprised me in some ways:
The driver didn’t even bother to close the driver side door while shopping! I imagine this is part of the ACL festival’s cool dude attitude…
October 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
We left Louisville, Kentucky this morning and arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas this evening. Another long day on the road.
Highway landscape doesn’t vary much in general and if one doesn’t look closely many states can look the same mile after mile. However, after a while small differences and repetitions start to stand out.
Today we crossed 3 states, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas, all part of “the Bible Belt”, and the consistently recurring sights were: Billboards with stark religious messages, gun shops, adult megastores and firework convenience stores/gas stations. I kept wondering if these were for the Bible Belt population or for people like us, Northerners, looking for “attractions” unseen in our part of the country…
In between trucks, I got a glimpse of the countryside as we were going through more rural areas. All the trees were still green, the grass wasn’t blue and I saw cotton fields for the first time. This landscape, at times desolate with signs of poverty and isolation, somehow felt less hostile than the Ohio and Pennsylvania steel and concrete sprawl.
And so far nowhere on this trip did anything look like a postcard.
Oh! And I forgot, we went by a town called Bucksnort, in Tennessee, on the way to Memphis…
September 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Ten years later, among lingering feelings of shock and sadness, when I think of what happened over these few days in September 2001, a new but increasingly strong feeling rises up: nostalgia.
Just a few minutes after the first plane hit the towers a formidable, unstopable and swelling wave of unity started surging.
New Yorkers became one, brothers and sisters in courage, resilience, generosity and heroism.
Americans became one, in Washington, in small towns and cities, streets and workplaces. Politicians and anonymous citizens, rich and poor, near and far away, all became united, in their actions and in their hearts, silently and individually, with selflessness and conviction.
People around the world would hug and shake hands with every american they would encounter, sometimes opening their home for them to watch and share the news together. Perfect strangers would instantly reach out if they learned you were american and just because you were american.
In France , the national daily newspaper Le Monde had a headline: ” Nous sommes tous américains”, “We are all american”, on the front page of its September 13 issue.
My french family and friends would call and email us, at home, in my small town far away from ground zero, with messages of sympathy and compassion.
Spontaneous surges of solidarity would come up around the world in least expected places (I often think of the people of Gander, Newfounland for example)
No one asked, it wasn’t planned, it was just deliberate and in unison.
Why is it that it takes a terrible tragedy, thousands of death and thousands more shattered lives, to trigger such a powerful and beautiful act of humanity? We are one. Unconditionally .
Two feelings, one bad and one good but both overwhelming: sorrow for those affected and joy in being part of a united community.They had been rarely, if ever, so deep and so strong for me.
Murderous violence and universal generosity are odd together but they do go hand in hand sometimes.
That spontaneous unity is alas also historic now and this makes me feel nostalgic indeed.
E pluribus unum
July 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
At 4:oo am french time on july 21 1969.
Our parents woke us up without warning.
To see the first humans walking on the moon.
Had I been awakened in the middle of the night for
The slow transmission
The coolest language
In radio voices.
The light of black and white TV
My parents’ faces
And their eyes,
no one saying a word,
made it a magical
Lying in a hay field
In the Alps
I looked at the moon.
The Americans were walking there?
An exhilarating feeling of looking at a human
Destination, far, far,
Straight from my eyes to there.
Not in my imagination.
Ever since that day I was fascinated by the Space Program, watching launches religiously, my heart beating fast, my eyes tearing. So beautiful, going straight up, away from the world, with awesome fire, smoke, roar and speed. Astronauts where my gods, powerful and beautiful riders, and NASA, a word that made me dream.
Many years forward I went to Cape Canaveral and saw Atlantis launch with my husband and 10 years old son. It was again so real, taking my breath away, just beautiful, beautiful.
On Friday July 8th, I watched the “last launch” on my television.
The last candle on my childhood birthday cake.
July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
He liked the work of Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)