Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Several of you have asked about the effect in Nantes of the worst civil unrest that France has seen in decades. Jeff or I have seen no burning or rioting here. But we have been admittedly sheltered during the past week as Jeff’s school vacation took us East to the French and Swiss alps. Very appropriate then that we should know nothing of unrest or violence in the world while hidden away in our little Swiss happiness account.

But now, after reviewing Le Figaro and cnn.com among others, I see that the violence is spreading, into towns we’ve visited, have friends in or plan to visit soon. In fact, here in Nantes, there have been about 60 cars torched, a primary school burned and mixed reports about a “cultural center in downtown” being effected. I recognize some of the neighborhoods mentioned, but none are within stones throw to where we spend most of our time. We are thankful that most of Nantes seems tranquil, and I hope and pray this finds peaceful ends soon. I hope to have more to write about these emeutes including student reactions and other feedback.

Speaking of burning…..(journal excerpt 11- 6-05)

Did you know that sunsets happen every night! As if amid our hussle and bussle, God stops us and says – “here, beauty, enjoy this gift for a few moments.”

Sure, there are rainy days, like yesterday in Lyon where nary a shaft of light was seen from the heavens – but those days make me appreciate big blue fluffy-cloud days like today even more.

Now 2 long traintrips, and 2 sunsets over French countryside. For this evening’s show, I crane my neck to peer over seats and foreheads to the windows opposite my row. My fellow travelers read magazines, fiddle with cellphones..unaffected. And soon, I feel silly for being so taken in, so I try to read, but its no use. The light draws my eyes, and I was to scream “Fire!” so people will look and see the awe-ful burning horizon.

We get it almost every night. This past week I have seen yellow change to pink, to purple to velvety blue over Loire Valley vineyards, alpine valleys and the majestic Mont Blanc. And still tonight in this boxcar…I must stop and stare.

I can’t claim to be well accomplished at the art of sucking the marrow out of life. For as hard as I may try, I wish I was more attuned to the nature, and people around me. But having this time, these 4 months in France to stop, look and wonder has been a blessing. I would dare say at times this leisure is a curse – like when I am on an Alps afternoon hike in which every angle offers stunning beauty. The beauty is rich, but I could never soak it in enough, never suck enough marrow from those mountain-air moments to adequately communicate the experience. Sometimes things are too wonderous to be readily explained. One must experience it.

What’s your favorite in-explicable wonder?

Check out some flimsy camera renderings of the scenes that recently left Jeff and me speechless. Notes: In lieu of of a lengthy travel journal about our time this past week, i've just let pictures talk with a few captions. Let me know if you want some more details or specifics! Also, you may be required to "sign in". Sorry, but I promise they won't e-stalk you, it just means you can view our pics.


Shelly said...

Bon jour Katie!
Sadly, your pictures were not available for viewing--care to try again? I'd love to sit and click through some stunning Swiss vistas as I sit here in my cube with absolutely no view to speak of... let me see through your eyes! :) Sounds like you're still enjoying yourselves, and are still somewhat removed from any civil unrest in the area. I'll pray that it continues so... Much love!

Puddleglum said...

Hey Katie - your comments about the sunset and the wonderous things we can see when we take time to notice brought to my mind my most recent camping trip. Nate Shattuck, Michael Shivers, Jeff Jones and myself camped by the river this past weekend. It was so refreshing hearing tr he river, smelling th eleaves, chatting by the fire - it is the way we should live I think. Except I need my pillow top bed. Oh, and maybe Monday night football, but thats it. Oh, another thing, I do need a shower every morning. Seeing a movie now and then would be good. Oooo, and Taqueria Del Sol . . . on second thought, I'll just camp now and then. I'd miss too much. Speaking of Taqueria Del Sol, bet you haven't had good Mexican in a while?