What I caught in my net today

I was trying to explain to my french neighbour a few months back about how my time in France has taught me how to 'live'.  I wouldn't necessarily say that the lessons I have learnt can be solely attributed to my geographical location.  I put it down to a complex confluence of many factors and events.  Perhaps my age, perhaps the recession, perhaps the change from an intensely urban existence to an isolated rural one, perhaps the ages of my children, perhaps the change in work with which I'm involved in; the list could continue ad infinitum.

Today is a case in point.

It is Armistice Day.  The startling numerical purity of the date itself seems all the more significant.  In France this day is treated with reverence and care.  In the United Kingdom, a two minute silence is observed at 11am.  By contrast, in France today, we had a day free of routine, free of the rush and bustle, the shops were closed along with the schools.

I had time to reflect on hard fought freedoms and the gift of peace. The horrors of war are beyond my comprehension.  The only way to comprehend its presence in this world is because there are many other deeds that are worse than war that leave people with no option but to bear arms.

And so we kept the day simply and quietly as we could.  We cycled to the beach and picnicked in the wind and bluster.

I gathered empty mussel shells, stranded and stationary.  Perfect pairs, all slightly ajar.

Delicate wings, banded and striped with a fragile translucency.

I carried them home to photograph because the wind kept lifting and shifting them around.  They were ready to fly.

Broken Wings, Cari-Jane Hakes, 11 November 2011

I had time to remember.  I am humbly grateful.

Bonne Nuit mes amis.