May 12, 2016

Wednesday, Collioure

Something has happened to me. Though maybe that tense is wrong, maybe I should write: something is happening to me.

Thunderstorms were promised for the afternoon yesterday, and rain was dripping a bit in the morning. It was Wednesday, market day here in Collioure, and I wanted to arrive before the line for roasted chicken was too long, before the bread was sold out. Also, it was a good morning to buy a train ticket, and coffee, to do a few other chores.

The forecast made me glad I had made the long walk to the castle and Port Vendre yesterday. The same  forecast made me, again today, not plan a bike ride into the surrounding hills. Tomorrow promised sunny, dry skies, until late afteroon. I thought: back on the bike tomorrow. There is a small town, Ceret, with a great art museum, about 25 miles west of here that I hope to visit.






After market, conscious that my goal is to slow down, to reflect, relax, I walked the streets, glancing into galleries and gift shops, though I'm not much of a shopper. The colors of the houses were much brighter in the morning light than I have previously seen them, the hills running down to the sea were charming.

The town economy is clearly tourist-based, but not in that internationally familiar, overwhelmingly so, sort of way. No high rises. The tourist atmosphere here is very much tempered by town history.  Artists such Picasso, Matisse, Derain lived here in the 20th century and influence an arts culture continuing to this day. There remains something of an ongoing, though greatly lessened, culture and economy of anchovies. Less than over the nearby Spanish border, still this is a Catalan town; if you listen you will hear the language. Protected no doubt by smart zoning laws, aimed at retaining the historic nature of the town, Collioure retains something of its history as a fishing village and trading port. It is a lovely place in May to walk and to think.




I settled in to watch the world go by. Whether or not there is any deep genetic significance, boys little and big alike throw stones into water. As I sat, the promised rain arrived, and I hurried back to the apartment for a late lunch. Market chicken, tapenade, heirloom tomatos, fennel, anchovies. Yum.

The sun returned, stronger now in late afternoon and I went out, back to the nearby swimming cove, with its cafes and benches. I sat for awhile and then noticed that as the sun moved lower and west in the sky, it was stronger on the far side of the cove, the area protected from the wind, with  four benches. On three of the four benches older women sat, one per bench, looking comfortable, relaxed, reading in the afternoon sun.

I joined them on the fourth bench. Very soon, I too relaxed. Wrote a bit. Read the book I found in my apartment. Helpfully, and unusually, it is a book about the process of writing. Thought. Reflected. Calmed down. Chilled some would say. Felt more in place. Somehow I think it was there, that moment, sitting with the three other older women, though their company went unacknowledged and unrecognized, when the excellent advice of my friend George became operating reality. He had told me just before I left the States: (paraphrased) yes, go, reflect, think, and write it down. Do it again, but remember write it down. Relax, pay attention, and remember to write it down. Write your thoughts, your ideas onto paper.

I realised that for the first time since I've been here, I wasn't trying to relax, I was relaxed. I was't thinking I should write, I was writing. Equally important, I  wasn't judging my writing, analysing it, looking at it much, I was just doing it, regardless of what resulted on the page.



Storm clouds blew back in, I listened for a few minutes to distant thunder approaching. Then, quickly,  I returned again to my nearby apartment, big drops falling on me as I neared the building. Thunder blasted. I rushed indoors.


7 comments:

  1. This is lovely, and very real to me, as I know (or think I do) that you and I share this struggle to be in our moment. Your photos are amazing! Enjoy, write on, ride on...

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    1. Thank you Susan! It's true, what you write, though I didn't know that about you ...

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  2. Wonderful post, Suze. Smart man that friend of yours:)

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    1. Thanks Susan...and he is, indeed.

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  3. Reads beautifully. The photos are beautiful, too.

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    1. Grier, thank you so much ... music to my ears coming from a pro like ypu. Please give Barbara a bonjour et bise from me!

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