Saturday, September 25, 2010

September meanderings

We usually go on holiday in May and September.  This was never intended to be any kind of ghastly cheesy reference to our age gap; if it were, it would by now be irrelevant, since frankly I am really something rather more like a somewhat frazzled and dishevelled past-its-best late July pushing August, while Tom is a generally pretty mellow and fruitful, but with sometimes a blustery chill and days getting shorter, late October with an intimation of Guy Fawkes' Night.

But no, from the time when I was free from the northern hemisphere's academic year, I've always favoured May for getting away.  Twixt summer and spring, the best of both, and since coming here, although  I've become loosely re-aligned with school/university terms, the generous allocation of French public holidays in the month generally ensures the possibility of a long weekend off at least, and since its our wedding anniversary too, there are enough reasons to be off gadding.

September is Tom's birthday month, it is off-season and quieter but most things are still just about open, the mornings can be fresh but the days are often bright, the light is lovely and the colours are beginning to grow richer,

and since my main paid work is supposed to be linked to the university rather than the school year - thereby giving it kind of gravitas and academic credibility and also enabling my retirees to take advantage of off-season rates and recover from the onslaught and trauma of their grandchildren's school holidays - I get a much appreciated extension on summer's lease.

So these markers in our year please us well.  Yet in both of them there is an element of leave-taking.

In the May evasion it is less poignant; the year is opening up into the even plod of summer, the predictable length of days, the temperatures sometimes tiresomely hot but usually never less than ambient.  Nevertheless, I do feel a degree of regret that the spring, with its wild flurry and urgency, its capricious vibrancy and youthful haste, is levelling out into summer, which is somehow lacking in movement compared with its forerunner. and for us, though paid work ceases, summer is often quite a busy time, with jobs around the place to be done, and sometimes visitors..

The September break I look forward to quite immoderately, although I know it is an ending, a door closing.

It is our reward for summer's work, our laying by for winter to come.  It is a time for idleness and an enjoyable melancholy, for reflection and folding away,  When we take off on it, I am wholeheartedly committed to relishing every moment of it, to drinking and savouring the last of summer to its lees before turning to and treading out the new stuff, resolutely turning my back on duties and obligations past and present.

And I do.  We luxuriate and please ourselves, lounge and walk

and eat and drink and read and soak up the last of the sun's rays on the warm unravelling edges of the land.

It truly is wonderful.  But then, somewhere after half way through, there comes a tipping point, and I know that it's time to turn about, time to go back and start putting things together for the last quarter of the year, to take stock and make stores and get ourselves ready.  And also that it really won't be bad.  At home there will be that special lowering light that dances through the thinning leaves and into the front windows and scatters over the wall and floors and surfaces and fills the rooms with life.  That there will be apples and sloes still in the hedges, that there will be new books to study and cheerful meetings and warm evenings, and, all being well an Indian summer which is always  better than the first one. No, it really won't be bad at all.

As we say goodbye to our new-found friends at Kerbiriou, saying that we might come back for a weekend later in the year, maybe to eat kig ar farz and to see if the oysters really are better in the winter, we can't be sure, but in the spring we w'll come, for sure, Rilke's lovely lines are going through my head - for Rilke has been one of the bittersweet and beautiful fruits to come out of this summer -

'Lord, it is time. Your summer was superb.
Lay your shadows on the sundials,
and in the meadows let the winds go free.'


(All the photos taken in and around where we were staying.) 


marja-leena said...

As always, wonderful photos and thoughtful words on the deep pleasures of the seasons.

Kelly said...

I am continually impressed with how your words and pictures blend so well together. Great pictures.

Dick said...

Glorious 'I'm-hopping-on-a-plane-and-coming-right-over' pictures, Lucy. September here is crap - grey, moist and cold.

Roderick Robinson said...

Before we bought the Drefféac house and after we sold it, all our tours de France were in September. The logis guide was used exclusively and often we were the only occupants of some remote family-run place where dinners could be just a wee bit oppressive. On the other hand life became simpler. I remember asking for the menu at one place and the owner, who was also the chef, said, "Monsieur, there is skate." So we had skate, with capers, and it was the best skate ever. But September always suited us: mists along the Loire and then taking the direct route, seeing the roof tiles change, feeling things warm up. A month that's adult and encourages adulthood, as you suggest. Deserves a sonnet, really. But it must be ABABCD... etc, format. September isn't a time for vers libre.

D. Jean Quarles said...

Such lovely thoughts and pics. Beautiful deep colors.

Lucy said...

Thanks all. I answered this earlier but bloody blogger ate my comment!
We had breakfast with a different couple most mornings we were there, and they were all of a certain age and pottering around in quite an impromptu, go as you please kind of way. In the restaurants it was the same story: a relaxed kind of confraternity of the child-free, I have to say I rather like being a member. Our hosts, a retired couple themselves, were shutting up shop the following week to head down to the mountains. Birds of passage all.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Wonderful photos, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the years turning. I love your new header too

HKatz said...

I love this post. I finally have a little time to settle down and visit some blogs, and this was a great post to savor and reflect on.

Beautiful photo of the sun ray, seeming to cut through the water (and all the photos with water - those lovely shades of blue). And those grapes - I want to pluck them out of the photo.

The line I loved best: It is our reward for summer's work, our laying by for winter to come. It is a time for idleness and an enjoyable melancholy, for reflection and folding away

the polish chick said...

beautiful as usual, lucy.

i find each year, when autumn rolls around, i am filled with the deepest melancholy, and simply cannot talk myself into embracing the whole circle of life, no matter what i do. i blame western civilisation's failure to acclimatize our souls to the inevitability of death, but really, i suspect it might just be my body reacting to the lessening light. still, it is a gorgeous season, especially here on the island...

Imovies said...


YourFireAnt said...

Exquisitely beautiful photography and writing. I too feel the leave-taking and the ending, but love the season best of all.

If I had an e.address for you, I'd send you a poem.


Bee said...

The way you compare Tom and yourself to the seasons is just what I adore about your writing: the attention to detail, the wry wit, the unique vantage point.

I envy you for being able to holiday in May and September -- surely the best months for that sort of thing. Yet I would hate to miss my garden in May, as it is my absolute favourite gardening month of the year. You are right that winter has its own charms, but I always feel a terrible melancholy as the nights start to draw in. As Dick says, September has been pretty crappy. Lots of dull, gray days already.
Your pictures of a more golden September, with butterflies and such, are consoling.

RE the comment you left on my post: When we were in Berlin, one of the group described going to Blogger and the laugh/shriek so many women made as "squeeing." (That made me laugh.) The delicious laughter of Berlin was not that at all, but rather the kind that renders you helpless and takes over your entire body.

the polish chick said...

i have added your blog to my links. i hope you don't mind keeping me company, despite the foul language and sometimes juvenile content.

PurestGreen said...

What a wonderful post. You have really captured the luxurious feeling of this season.

jarvenpa said...

So beautiful.
And I love Rilke, and especially that poignant poem (and the one about the falling leaves and how everything in this world falls, but is held.)
(oh dear, the word verification is overdosse!!)