Offbeat Antibes….. #2 Correspondence

There are so many things I am appreciating about being here. It is an incredible gift to me.

I get out and walk everyday and just take time to notice the environment around me. Yesterday morning, when I was on the way to the station, I noticed an orange had fallen from a tree and was impaled on a fine wire of the very high fence around a beautiful but clearly private property. I took the orange as a wee gift to myself and enjoyed eating it when I was sitting at the station. The oranges are all coming into season – they grow on trees in some of the streets – but the picture below is from a market stall.

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The local architecture is fascinating – the doors, door furniture and shutters, are so different to those at home and it is the ‘up’ side of being here out of season, in that there are fewer tourists and therefore a much slower pace, less human clutter, less mental clutter – so I get to see more.

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Some letters are coming in bit by bit. It makes me realise how much I appreciate it when I  receive something back. It isn’t a requirement, nor a condition that people do write back, but it means so much to me when people do.  I am far from home, content to be far from home, but the letters are like an umbilical cord, a tangible connection to the people with whom I belong in some way.

The phone rarely rings, there is an occasional text, some Facebook messages and, rarely, a Skype call.  It is as I need it to be just now. I need the peace, and can’t bear noise to any great extent. I am out of circulation, not on tap, and need it to be like this. It feels like time to heal, for peace and to nest.

The letters I have written,are in a number of subcategories –

The Unsolicited – I write to some people, just because they are on my mind and I have things I want to write and say. This is a combination of old friends, and people I need to thank, and in one instance a friend gave me the heads up about someone – a prompt to write.

The Requested –  These are in the majority……I write to people because they have asked, in response to my offer to write to anyone who wants a letter….. that remains an open offer and a letter is unconditional….. there is no need to respond, but it is especially nice when it happens and I get a letter back.

The Reciprocal – people who also write, and not because they feel obliged, but just because they also like to…. so the chance to exchange and to explore a bit more, to experience writing as a ‘mode’ for a while..

Responses have come in a number of ways……. actual letters, some cards, some postcards, a number of Facebook acknowledgements and the odd What’s App message.

For me, the experience of writing the letters has been about the chance to bring someone to mind in a sustained way for the 20 minutes or so that it might take to sit and write something. In an odd way it is a meditation often about the person to whom I am writing, but also a way to be with present with them and share something of what is going on, even when I am not in their presence. ( Still with me? Somehow this feels to be incredibly important ……. exploring……) It is also a way to share something about the minutiae of daily life ….. I can handle minutiae…somehow it feels like that is where meaningful things are….. in the small, the ordinary, the quotidian.

So many things to write about……. like the void….. and boundaries & high-maintenence people…. and reflecting on life……….  knocking on doors within.

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