Is the Only Reprieve Paris Plage?
In the midst of the world insanity, a small group of friends met at Paris Plage for a picnic in the sand for a dual purpose — 1) just plain summer relaxing fun and 2) to celebrate writer/editor Janet Hulstrand’s birthday.
In the last two years, I’ve celebrated the special occasion with Janet in her ‘home’ town of Essoyes in Champagne where she lives in a Chalet-style home that I helped her family purchase nine years ago. As was her plan, she inched her way over from her life in Washington, DC to a more-than-full-time life in France where she now offers “Writing from the Heart” workshops as part of The Essoyes School. This summer, she is offering mini-workshops (or “sample tastes” as she likes to call it) that are three hours plus walking tour right there in the beautiful Aube village she has come to love…as have I.
(Full details are available on The Essoyes School Web site.)
We’re all so sick to death of the world news…the constant ups and downs of the Trump/Clinton campaign, the never-ending senseless murders of innocent people proudly claimed responsible by ISIS groups whether they were or not and the battle in the U.S. between law enforcement and unsuspecting African Americans. The news is creating more and more fear and with that comes more and more prejudice and racism, more and more hate and ultimately more and more violence. I’m not so sure we can blame ignorance, but I am sure we can blame fear for sending so many in (what I believe is) the wrong direction…by voting for the wrong candidate or creating our own prisons labeled “security.”
There we were with our toes in the sand, a cotton spread with a big sunface on it laid out before us, laden with our picnic goodies, enjoying the warm, but cloudy evening, watching the kids make sand castles and the boats slowly drifting by. The water marks from the recent flooding of the Seine are evident along the stone river walls. Janet brought a bottle of good champagne from one of her local vintners to share with friends. We tried not to discuss politics or the latest killings in order to take a short break from the crazy world in which we currently live.
Conversation lately among friends is where one can live to be safe or away from it all and the truth is, there aren’t too many places, except very remote, too cold or too hot, that fit the bill for a possible utopia. We all know utopia doesn’t exist — it’s a dream we all have in our minds that can never be fulfilled. Americans unhappy with the upcoming election may opt to find a respite, and France could be one of the havens they choose. We will welcome them with open arms.
As much as I might complain about French bureaucracy, high taxation or left-leaning ideas that are too extreme for my personal tastes, the French, in general, have a humane point of view about life and equality that I can well appreciate. Sadly, the increase of terrorist activity is also driving them further to the right, just as it is Stateside and in other parts of the globe — a sentiment that is of concern. My daughter, during her current stay here, discovered this happening among her young French childhood friends — people she never dreamed would become both paranoid and angry enough to head to the right.
You will not hear from me for one solid week as we take vacation on the Spanish island of Mallorca next week . This is a diversion from the usual summer holiday in Corsica and we look forward to discovering something new, particularly beautiful Mediterranean beaches on the luscious island. Our biggest challenge will be to successful thwart the Air France strike scheduled to begin today grounding about 30% of domestic and medium-haul flights all week long.
So, if it’s not politics, terrorism, police brutality or other plagues of today’s society…it will be labor disputes that will get us. It seems the only reprieve is Paris Plage.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(with Janet Hulstrand)
P.S. Since I will be on vacation next week, it would be the perfect oportunity for our readers to look back at past editions of our nouvellettres and let us know which are your favorites. Email your candidates to [email protected]