Le Dernier Mot: Se Ressourcer

Le Dernier Mot: Se Ressourcer

Lying on a patch of freshly turned earth, I look around, admiring the barren field. I wish that the ground would stay this way: neat, tidy, not a leaf out of place. It is ironic to be resting on a heap of dirt. It was dust that drove me here, out of my home. Dust in the spring, dust in the summer, in autumn and now in winter. My grandmother said, on her deathbed, “I wish I had dusted less.”

Stretched out on my back on an old mat, my thoughts are like so many floating particles, slowly settling on this slumbering field. Relax in this calm clearing. But the weeds will push up again, come springtime. There’s no end to the clutter, even in nature. Then again, this yard may turn into a field of poppies, enough to choke out the weeds. I think of all the seeds that last year’s bright red crop has dropped. Imagine a field of coquelicots! But poppies remind me of l’Armistice, and the bloody Flanders Fields, where the red flowers were planted en masse in remembrance of lost lives.

My thoughts drift from fallen soldiers to lost kittens (our weeks-old rescue, Lily, is buried here). I look up to the great oak tree which towers overhead and a voice tickles my ears:

“When you’re restless, layer up and go take a nap under the magnificent oak! Wake up beneath the bright blue sky!”

I have to call my Mom and tell her I’ve bundled up – wool socks, a knitted cap, and a fleece-lined coat. She was right, out here I can feel my cares slipping away. Out go the dust and the weeds, in come the poppies, dreams and memories.

I recall those fruit trees. When we moved in we put the ailing abricotiers to rest and planted a kitchen garden. I remember dragging the hose out to the field to reach the poorly-placed potager. And how amusing it was to see the radish seeds pop up and march off, carried by an army of ants.

Then came the sunflowers! Golden-topped giants born of a seed no bigger than my fingernail. The tournesols eventually nodded off, leaving room for these four small trees, baby oliviers my husband planted for me on my birthday last week. I reach up, grab a label dangling from a little branch and read about their lifespan – 2,000 years!

My eyes, bright with life, swing from the gray-green leaves to the dirt wall, or terrace, that rises just behind me. I hear a faint thundering and remember the hoof imprints, still fresh up there on the vineyard path. My mind sees a herd of sangliers charging towards this drop off! Will they stop in their tracks or hurdle over me?

A whoosh takes my breath away – a flock of birds flies overhead and I listen to the rush of the thrushes. I stand up, dust myself off and gaze at the field as one would a good friend – with a reverent thanks. We must see each other again!

se ressourcer = to recharge one’s batteries

Kristin Espinasse writes the French Word-A-Day blog, which she began in 2002. Author of the books Words in a French Life and Blossoming in Provence, she lives on an olive farm near Bandol. Her latest book, First French Essais, was published this spring.
Originally published in the February-March 2014 issue of France Today




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