i’ve been outside
Sleep ∞ Over – Outer Limits
I’ve been writing less lately because it’s spring and time for moving and sleepovers (tonight is only my second night in 8 days or so on which I will not be sharing a bed with one pretty girl or other) and reading outside and making iced tea and warm mornings walking to bakeries for bread; the winter is more conducive to long cozy thought sessions. Is it true for anyone else that in spring, one’s thoughts are made less of words and more of laughing?
This weekend I left Paris with R. and C. to visit J. at the villa in St. Raphael. It could be because I spent my first time there as a ten year old child, but each time I visit I feel like a little girl again. At the risk of sounding like an early-twentieth-century children’s book about wealthy families who travel to Normandy and Brighton for the benefits to the body and spirit of bracing sea air (“We went to the seaside and had ice cream in two flavors!”), I love going from the city to the coast because of the way that I’m reminded of the solid presence of my own body, of its vulnerability and resilience, in a way that I only remember feeling equally in childhood. My skin burns in the sun, my feet and hands are all cut up from hitting rocks underwater, my hips are scuffed and bruised from being thrown against boulders by alarmingly big waves at high tide. I check my legs for ticks after pulling my skirt up above my knees, running across the train tracks, and through high grasses on the other side. Nothing reminds me of childhood more than getting hit in the back of the head by a cold wave, spending what feels like minutes underwater as the wave rolls over and past, and coming up gasping, wide-eyed, and spitting out saltwater. Almost as shocking and exhilarating as birth, and causing a similar indignance.
In other news, my new apartment in the 18e arrondissement is perfect, with hardwood floors, almost-floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the cobblestone street between Le Moulin Rouge and Le Sacré Coeur, which is noisy and bustling in the best way. There’s a baby nearby that babbles a lot in French, a family across the street which has just opened up the windows and started listening to Maria Callas records in the evening, and a dog who seems to live at a cafe on my street and occasionally gets up the energy to bark when another dog goes by. Soon I’ll have to buy one of those rolling grocery containers to drag my food uphill, especially given my penchant for only buying groceries that come in jars and bottles (olives, preserves, milk, honey, speculoos spread, spices, clotted cream, pearl onions…) and then realizing too late how heavy they are.
I’m babbling, but just trying to get writing again.