Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Les Feuilles Mortes (Jacques Prévert)

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Fall has arrived in Provence. The trees are changing from green to yellow and brown. The vines are bright red and yellow. We have been caressed by falling leaves as we walked Smokey and Braise. The season always makes me think of the tune Autumn Leaves which was originally written as a poem Les Feuilles Mortes by Jacques Prévert.

It is hard to go through fall without thinking about or humming Autumn Leaves. Now, when I think of the song, I also think about Jacques Prévert and his contribution to music, writing and film. (It is equally hard to acknowledge that two years ago, I wouldn’t have known his name if it was the only choice on a multiple choice question.) I thought that Autumn Leaves was written by Nat King Cole – and this is from the son of a musician!

When I realize that the center-of-the-world-view that I have lived with for so long might not be the true center, it makes me pause. Could there be intelligent life forms outside of the US?

Since we have been here in Vaison la Romaine, we have learned so much about the French. My world view has become binocular. I see things through the US lens or through a French lens. If I use my binoculars to search for intelligent life forms, in many categories France comes out head and shoulders above the US-- though France is not even as large as New England.

• Where but in France would a “Charlie Rose”-style program be the # 1 television program and on Friday evening for almost 20 years? I am referring to “Apostrophe” and as a French friend predicted, I have yet to find anyone who did not watch it regularly. (I have never seen it and since it has been gone almost 20 years, it is not available on YouTube. Dommage.)

• We have heard a lot about French health care as elected leaders in the US grapple with trying to bring universal health care to the States (French health care: top 10; US health care: 47th.)

• France is also one of the top-rated “green” countries as they have worked hard to increase recycling, reduce pollution, and save the environment.

But, more important than “Who’s first” or “Who’s on first?” is la vie quotidienne (daily life) and news from the canine front. Smokey (the puppy) continues to grow healthier and thus more active and assertive. Braise (his mother) has shown a depth of patience that seems limitless – except at feeding time. Both dogs have now returned to the familiar surroundings of the vineyard as Kristin, Jean-Marc, Jacqui and Max have returned from their trip. Even more fun than the news about the dogs being here was the evening when two friends came for dinner and were joined by a third friend – with Braise and Smokey sitting in their bed watching five adults trying to eat a meal in this small apartment. C’est la vie!