Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Making A Summer

I get caught up sometimes in feeling I need to match a role I imagine that other people have me playing, whether they do or not: that I'm seeing marvelous things here in France all the time, having wonderful adventures, doing things differently. But daily life is fairly prosaic much of the time, doing computer work and making dinner and feeding the dogs and cleaning the pool (granted, that's not something I've done before, so bonus points for newness there). I'm just living. I could probably be living more, seeing more, doing more - I could go Cognac tasting perhaps, being as how I'm in the middle of that region, or I could drive to any one of a dozen nearby towns to check out their churches or whatever. I think I'm tired of traveling alone, because I don't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for doing that, at least not when it's hot outside. Yet in my daily laundry-computer-pick-up-around-the-yard-and-pool routine there are small things that make each day special, whether they're particularly French or not.

For example, I got pooped on by a swallow today (or perhaps more than one) as I was schlepping the bags of trash and recycling from the gîtes and the house to the bins just down the road. They've started swarming around here lately - more than I remember seeing when I arrived a little over a week ago - and that, along with the fact that the sun-clock is waking me just a bit later each morning now, signals the turning of the year towards shorter days. The nights are still and long and clear. I walked outside last night just before midnight to see a spangled sky bisected by La Voie lactée, and just stood there soaking in the starlight for a bit before going back to bed, pushing the murmuring cat to one side and listening to the dogs snore downstairs.

The swallows dip and swoop down onto the surface of the pool for quick sips of chlorinated water. I'd try to get photos of that, but my point-and-shoot probably won't focus that fast, and it's more fun to just watch them. I go out to the pool every other day to make sure the pump is working, or to clean the bottom, or to pick up the nasty gummy band-aids that the children in one of the rentals leave by the side of the pool, ick. If I ever do end up working for more than a few weeks in the hospitality industry, it had better be in a no-children-allowed environment, or else I will quickly become less than hospitable. Children who leave the balls from the pétanque set scattered across the lawn and the badminton net in a hopeless snarl, who drop towels to sink to the bottom of the pool and break the deck chairs, who pry off the underwater pool light covers and leave candy wrappers around that blow into the pool and clog the drains.

Tomorrow I'll clean everything.

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