Saturday, May 4, 2013

Grace and Wisdom, Strength and Beauty

16th-century French School portrait of Saint Cecilia at the Château de Chenonceau (per their brochure; it's a 17th-century Florentine work according to Wikipedia)

I feel like I'm waking up out of hibernation these days. Maybe it's the increased light and the blue-skied sunshine, or the pressure of getting two weeks' worth of work done in one week (I've always thrived on procrastination). Maybe it's the upcoming changes in location and work, which are lifting my spirits with the thought of meeting new people and seeing new things, and finally getting my hands into the curd again. Though for every day that goes by before all papers are finalized and that crucial stamp is in my passport granting me the official right to stay longer here, my stress level goes up a little bit. Fortunately I have three weeks of travel to beautiful places coming up, time spent with Mom and John and a chance to see parts of France I've never been to before, so I'll be having too much fun to be stressed out. I stocked up on gluten-free baguettes and camera batteries (my only real environmental guilt, I hope) at Auchan today, and have my ticket to Paris hanging on the wall. I'm taking my laptop to keep up with the travel blogging, but I don't have to worry about work - I've scheduled all my paid blogging through the first week in June.

"The Three Graces" by Charles-André van Loo (1763); 15th-century carved wood heads; 18th-century painted ceiling

I need grace and a sense of humor to handle all of the administrative contortions this lovely country so enjoys putting people through. I need the wisdom to make the right choices, or at least to acknowledge when I'm making the wrong ones, though I may still do so. Blatherblogging for example, right now, instead of writing up my research notes from yesterday. But I'll take my books and papers out into the afternoon sunshine in a few minutes, promise. I will need strength to keep up with my fearfully fit parents as they charge up and down cliffs looking for fossils - well, at least Mom will be doing that - and to keep my head in Parisian traffic and on insanely speedy freeways. 80.7783mph is the legal limit here, and I can guarantee that even if we're driving that fast, we'll be in the slow lane.

And the beauty? That will be, is, everywhere. And I need that, too.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines in blossom give forth their fragrance.

"The Queen of Sheba" or possibly "Solomon and Sheba" by Jacopo Tintoretto, according to the brochure, but while I find that title with that artist in an online search it doesn't look anything like this, although I can't imagine why they'd make it up.

1 comment:

  1. It's becoming more apparent that I should be the one driving. Owning (and driving) a car that loves going 80+mph definitely qualifies me.