In the Languedoc

I am in rural southwest France, where internet connections are spotty and signal strength is quite weak. I am unable to upload many images at present. I’ll post more when the internet connection is better. With luck, here is one from Rennes Les Bains, altered with the waterlogue app.

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Musicians in the Musée de Cluny

The Musée national du Moyen Âge, better known as the Cluny Museum, is best known as the home of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The museum’s statues, art, stained glass, and tapestries provide windows into the lives of the people who were alive when the Gothic cathedrals of Paris were being built, and show that music was an important part of life in the Middle Ages. There are a couple of harp sightings, too! Come have a look:

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A Walk Through Luxembourg Garden

I awoke to another bright, blue-sky day in Paris, a perfect morning for visiting le Jardin du Luxembourg. I am finally getting the hang of Paris buses. I found the right bus stop and the right bus without getting lost and having to accost a stranger with my butchered French to get directions (of which all I can usually understand is “left” and “right”.)

Luxembourg Garden is an immense green space that provides respite for weary Parisians and tourists alike. As I walked through the column of plane trees, I inhaled the aroma of flowers and newly mown grass instead of gasoline and diesel fumes, and listened to birdsong and children on the playground instead of horns and sirens. C’est magnifique! Come see the garden with me. . . . .

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The Cathedral of Saint-Eustache

If you say “cathedral” and “Paris” in the same sentence, you will most likely think of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. But Paris is home to many cathedrals, and one of the most beautiful is Saint-Eustache. It was constructed from 1532 to 1640, with towering gothic arches, walls of light, and the largest organ in Paris. I hope you enjoy this visit to Saint-Eustache.
Gothic arches:

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Walls of light, including one with harps:

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The organ:

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Decorated stonework:

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Walking Through Monet’s Garden

I was exposed to lots of music as a child thanks to my dad’s collection of phonograph records, and singing in school and choir. But I did not have much exposure to art and artists until college, when an art appreciation course my freshman year introduced me to the Impressionists and Claude Monet.
That year was pretty rough for me, and I often didn’t know why I should bother to keep one foot moving in front of the other. Then I saw a slide of Monet’s painting of his Japanese bridge. I knew that being in a world that contained such beauty was reason enough to keep going. I’ve wanted to go to Giverny to see the Japanese bridge and the water lily pond ever since seeing that projected image of Monet’s painting.
And today, I made it there!
The lily pond:

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Flowers:

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Monet’s house:

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Behind the scenes:

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To Everything There Is A Season

The season of tulips is over:

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The season of irises begins:

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March’s wood hyacinths are fading away:

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While the Dianthus burst forth into the heat of May:

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The airy clouds of dogwood blossoms brown and fade:

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Becoming litter on the ground:

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While maple leaves unfurl into summer, creating welcome shade:

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The gifts of each season pass, but are unerringly replaced by the gifts of the next season. Every morning walk tells me this is so. Every morning walk should assure me that the passing of the season of Ruth Ann in my life will be followed by gifts of the next season, gifts as yet unimagined and unknown.

But the shape and weight of the emptiness left by her death continue to confound me. My meager tendrils of faith in the turning world struggle to take root and grow. Trusting that a new season will quietly tiptoe into my life and astound me with its beauty requires moment-by-moment suspension of disbelief.

My favorite television show is Call the Midwife. Last Sunday’s episode closed with these words:

Invisible wounds are the hardest to heal, for their closure depends upon the love of others, and patience, understanding and the tender gift of time.

I am blessed with the love of others. My own patience and understanding for my hurting heart are in short supply. But the tender gift of time arrives of its own accord, without requirements of belief, faith or consent.  And so, I act “as if” the passing of grief and the return of joy are inevitable, even while faith and trust remain out of reach. And every morning I step out the door, and keep walking.