04 March 2008

Crises existentielles, mais pas graves

There are a lot of mornings when I wonder if or why I am going to do another blog post. Then I start wondering why I ever started this blog at all.

Of course, I know why. There are at least three reasons.

March skies reflected in the duck pond out back

The first, I think, is photos. I take so many, and enjoy taking them. I need a place to put them, something to do with them. I have resisted opening a Flickr or similar account because I'm afraid the thousands, or tens of thousands, of photos I might put there would never get looked at.

Walking the dog under March skies on 03 March 2008

The second reason for the blog, at least at the beginning, was to explain to myself and family and friends what this life in the French countryside was all about. I'm still doing that. Like any life, not every day is fascinating. But I post almost daily because there is always another photo to share.

The tourist road that winds through the vineyards of Touraine

The third reason for the blog, I suppose, is to give some structure and purpose to my everyday existence. For so many years, I got up every morning with a purpose defined by others — the people I "managed" or did editing for, or my boss — and by 6:00 or 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. was sitting either in front of my computer monitor or behind the steering wheel of my car to satisfy all those obligations. I guess I kind of got addicted to sitting in front of a computer monitor, and now I can't stop. "Working at home" — as in, "I'm WAH today" — which was a goal for many in the business I was in, has become my daily reality.

The cool thing about the sky is that it changes all the time.
Cela dit, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

So here are some more pictures of skies, flowers, landscapes, and all that. It's what I do and it's what I have to share. Maybe something interesting will happen to me today. If it does, I'll try to take a picture or two, and then I'll write about it.

By the way, it is supposed to turn cold and windy today. I hope all the flowers don't get blown away. We are expecting downpours of rain, snow, or sleet. Oh joy!

Blackthorn — it has white flowers,
comme son nom ne l'indique pas.

And by the way again, I guess I'm pretty sure now that the white flowers all around our hamlet are on prunelliers, or blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) bushes and trees. I've never noticed fruit on these shrubs and trees, but this year I'll pay better attention. Prunelles, or tiny plums, are called "sloes" in English, and they are good for jams and flavored alcohols.


  1. Your photos are always such a joy to behold!

    You've described my reasons for blogging quite accurately...I will add number 4: the social aspect. Amongst visitors to my blog I made many virtual and actual friends!

  2. Over winter the balance between blogging and real life gets off kilter. Soon you'll have more going on than you'll have time to blog about. (Same with your readers.) I enjoy your blog whether it's about the dog, your lunch, your lives in California, or something to do with France.

    In fact, I wonder if there isn't a gap in your blog. I went back to read how you got to France, and followed it to the point where you two and Collette were driving cross-country to the east coast, and then it seemed to stop. Did I miss some entries?

  3. Claudia in Toronto04 March, 2008 16:09

    To be or not to be? It's always the question.

    Why you blog? One answer:
    I would have spent this miserable winter under the blankets if people like you had not offered me a cyber-world filled with beautiful photos and cheerful words.Thank you for being there.

    Other questions: Why a prunellier is blackthorn? Why a grapefruit is pamplemousse? Answer: To amuse me and to deter me from more serious and disturbing problems with no answers.

    I love flickr. I look at flickr. I travel through flickr. I comment on flickr. It's much better than TV documentaries.

  4. We are so happy to join you in your "existence!"

    And your blog adds a bit of very pleasant structure to my day too: I check yours (and Walt's) every morning before breakfast.

    Bonne journee!

  5. Claudia in Toronto04 March, 2008 16:46

    I wish to add that I love your old posts too. Nothing is ever lost...

  6. It's the pre-birthday blues, Ken. You don't need to justify your existence. You are important to every one of us, and we enjoy checking in with you as often as possible.

    Thanks for the amazing photos, once again. And may I be among the first to wish you a very happy birthday tomorrow and a healthy and contented year ahead!


  7. Thank you so much for sharing not only your beautiful and inspiring photos, but also sharing your life in breathtaking France's countryside. I look forward to your wonderful pictures every morning.
    My husband and I will be in lovely Paris in early April for 10 glorious days visiting a friend. I was searching the internet for any pictures or information not found in guide books about Paris and surrounding areas -- and I found you and Walt!!
    Thanks again for sharing. We are so excited about our trip!

  8. Ken, I am so glad you blog. I absolutely love your photos, and I like the way you post them much better than flickr. You have such a wonderful way with words, that makes me feel as though I'm there and you're talking to me, and showing me the beauty all around you.


  9. Thanks for doing it Ken. I check in every day at lunch. You and Walt provide me with a little taste of France each and every day.

    I love the picture of the pond. The reflected colors are so sharp.

  10. I recently found your blog and I greatly appreciate it. The pictures are beautiful. Also, I found your pictures of the bagel making very helpful when I tried them myself. They turned out great and I know your pictures were the key. Thank you.

  11. just noticing what happens every day in the world is a big deal, and i appreciate how much you do so in your pix.

    sloes, how cool. i didn't know that's what blackthorn was.

  12. I think the Anonymous poster has it right "It's the pre-birthday blues, Ken. You don't need to justify your existence. You are important to every one of us, and we enjoy checking in with you as often as possible."

    And about the blackthorns, I would have said they look like the ornamental plums that grow prolifically in the Oakland Hills. Now I come to find out that sloes are little plums.

    As the elderly grandmother of a friend said as she was approaching her 100th birthday, you never die on a day when you learn something.

    Happy birthday, Ken, and many happy returns.

  13. Since I still spend my days at work in front of a computer I don't generally spare any time for blogs or other on-screen entertainment, but since my friend Evelyn introduced me to your blog I've kept coming back to it, and to Walt's. Why? For the photos, which are often spectacular, but most especially for your ability to find and to share the joy in simply living one's life. Thank you.

  14. I agree when purejuice, just paying attention to what's happening in one's world is a big deal. In additon you kindly share your thoughts and friends with us. This is a good thing and like Eva said, it shows us the joy of living.

    I love seeing all the clouds today, thanks. And a very happy birthday to you!

  15. Ken - Happy Birthday, and don't stop blogging. Your blog inspires our blog and us, and we can't wait until we are WAH like you in the Touraine.

    Your white blossoms are almost certainly Blackthorn. They will always be amongst the very earliest blossom. They are called Blackthorn because they have long and vicious black thorns - check out a twig more closely if you have never noticed them before. I hope you are going to make Sloe Gin with the fruits.



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