Saturday, April 25, 2009

slay me with beauty



Does it wear off? This being constantly blown away by aesthetics, by a sense of place, by history and thoughtful architecture? Will I ever find it ordinary? Do the people who live in Europe, were born here, even see it.
I'm finding the beauty of this place so incredibly distracting, it's almost disturbing. I find myself saying such inane things, like, "I can't get over how beautiful that roofline is," and "I love the way the old stone houses look."
Honestly, my words, my compliments, my appreciation of the beauty of this place sound so dumb coming out of my mouth.



But I do love the markets. I love the parks. I love the houses, the way the shutters are all painted a different color, sage green, forest green, brick red, cornflower blue, gray....

I love the way the farmyards are in the middle of town, the way I'm drawn down every alleyway, ever narrow passage, ever winding street like a woman possessed.

And the endless fields of vibrant yellow oilseed rape, the stuff that is making my nose tickle and my eyes itch. It's killing me.

Esther sees it too. "Look at that dazzling yellow field," she said the other day. Dazzling indeed.


Coming to France in the spring, just in time to see entire hillsides grow gauzy and soft with apple and cherry blossoms, and smell the lilac and wysteria is a trap. I am suffering from delusions of perfection. Wondering why the entire world doesn't just come here and look and find their problems solved.

Of course I'm choosing to ignore the fact that something like 70 percent of France's energy comes from nuclear power. So far I haven't spotted a reactor, but I know they're out there. Somewhere.

Please excuse me if I say nothing of substance here, I'm still reeling, in the early throes of falling in love. I'm blinded by the feeling. Stupid with love. This kind of passion can't last. I'll come around soon. Won't I?

For proof that it's not all lilacs and apple blossoms, click here.

11 comments:

momma's heart said...

Beautiful post. Love the photos - keep them coming, please!

Brooke G. said...

I am sure the photos don't entirely do it justice, but I am so glad you are capturing it and sharing with us! It sounds...um... breathtaking!! Keep that camera handy ;) (Love the one of Isla with the giant artichoke...at least I think that is what that was?)-

Alisha said...

My parents live in Europe and whenever I visit, I too wonder if the people who actually live in these beautiful places "appreciate" it. Now I'm glad I don't live in a place with amazing cathedrals and picturesque houses and intriguing alleyways so that I can appreciate their beauty whenever I come across them.

La Mom said...

Hey Betsy,

Ahhh -- it's you! I've been following you for a while now. Could you send me your e-mail so I can get directly in touch (maybe I missed that info on your blog?).

Here's mine: lamom.paris@gmail.com

And whaddaya mean -- it's always lilacs and apple blossoms in France! ;)

La Mom
An American Mom in Paris

Kingsmom said...

Lovely post. I can almost feel your emotions.

But I must add that the artichokes look devine. They are enormous.

Emma said...

gorgeous! I just read your baby centre post for this week- poor old Esther, but don't beat yourself up Betsy, kids will freak out about stuff no matter where they are, and you and Ian are obviously such loving and involved parents- your girls will be secure no matter where in the world they are. I'd love for my kids to have a similar experience- maybe one day....

JediMom said...

Oh wow beautiful pics. I am so jealous of you getting to live in France. What an experience for you and the girls. Please keep the photos coming.

Jamie Lee said...

Beautiful images. Sometimes the simplest piece of the world can evoke such a heartfelt response ... it's amazing, isn't it? Thanks so much for sharing.

Meowmie said...

I find the same thing about the Australian landscape. I guess I'm used to it and I get surprised when my visitors are excited about things like the blue eucalypt haze, the wildlife, and so on.

Emily said...

I MISS Europe! It's been 16 years since I was there last (has it been so long?), and I still see it clear as day in my mind's eye. I know I would never get used to all the beauty, the castles randomly dotted about the countryside, quaint roadside inns, cobbled "fussgangerzons", street vendors...*sigh*! Enjoy it!

Emilyplays said...

This all sooooo alluring! I know you must be having all the normal struggles, PLUS some, but I think I'll just gaze at the photos and let my idyllic imagination take over!! Sigh.... The amazing memories you are building through this is priceless - that is of course if you don't tear your hair out! Well, that could even be spun into an amusing story in 10 or 15 year I suppose. (please read that last bit with the humorous and heartfelt tone I'm unable to portray with my words :p ) Please keep posting more - you know in all of your free and spare time hehehe. You are helping keep the dream alive on my desktop!