02 April 2008

Shades of gray

Yesterday was one of those mornings when you wake up to clear skies, sit down at your computer for an hour or so to put together a blog topic, and then look outside again to see that a thick gray fog has formed and is hugging the ground. You still have to take the dog out.

Sun and fog over the vines
01 April 2008

It isn't really cold, but you need layers of clothes to fend off the dampness and chill. The walk reveals a series of scenes in black and white. At least the ground is not as wet and mushy as it was a few days earlier. It's as if the moisture has risen up out of the dirt and is hanging suspended in the air, waiting for the sun to evaporate it.

Drops hanging on vineyard wires

We are doing spring cleaning right now, so I have dirt on my mind. Washing windows, running rugs and curtains through the washing machine, and cleaning out winter's cobwebs will ensure that when nice April weather does finally come we'll be ready for it. We'll be putting the outdoor table and chairs back out on the terrace later this week.

Callie peering out into the fog at something

The specific reason for our burst of spring-cleaning energy right now is that friends from California will arrive Friday to spend five nights with us. One week after they leave, another California friend will arrive for her own five-day stay. In May two other friends are already on the schedule. The busy season is starting.

Spiders are busy in the vineyard too.

Nearly all of these visitors are people who have come to see us in Saint-Aignan several times before, and we are looking forward to spending time with them again. I haven't been back to California since 2003, and Walt has made only one trip back, in 2005. I haven't felt much desire to go back, but yesterday there was an article in the New York Times about San Francisco restaurants that made me feel pangs of homesickness for that city.

Walking back home — the sun is up higher
but fog is still just as thick

In May, we are planning to go spend a week with our friend Cheryl on the Ile d'Oléron. That's just off the coast south of La Rochelle and north of Bordeaux. We have rented a gîte. Oléron is not a remote island — there's a bridge over from the mainland. I plan to spend that week eating oysters, walking on beaches, and enjoying beautiful weather and warm breezes. I am an optimist.


  1. Beautiful photos of the foggy landscape, Ken!

    I would also like to spend a week eating oysters, mmmmmm! I wish you good weather.

  2. Oops, that was me,


  3. Beautifully written, Ken, especially those first two paragraphs.

    I envy your other California friends who are coming to visit. Someday, someday...

    But, please, do come back to see us. There was a great article about your kindred spirits in the Chronicle Magazine this weekend:


    All the best,

  4. I echo Ginny... beautifully written. And your photos! I love them. The spider web sparkled with dew especially evokes memories of farm life for me. I've shared your blog with Tony, a fine young co-worker of mine who is here from Paris for a time...

  5. That last was from me, Ellen, by the way. And I echo Ginny further in wishing you'd come back to visit us in California one day!

  6. Beautiful photos of the fog today and the sunset yesterday. You are getting quite a collection of wonderful images!

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  7. the vineyard in the mist is so full of -- fairies, werewolves, saints in ecstacy, french gnomes and unicorns. beautiful.


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