Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Running to stand still

We spent half an hour running in and out of these stumps on the sprawling lawn of the Chateau Ste. Fargeau. I could have done it for an hour. Running comes so naturally to children. Why do we stop running everywhere we go when we become adults? I'll admit, I sometimes employ the child's method of mobility, running from place to place, from downstairs to up, sprinting from the kitchen to the bathroom, or from the yard into the house. It feels good, but I know I couldn't keep it up if anyone were watching me. Why is running only appropriate for little people?

And what about skipping. I once dared my brother, the only person in our family with the kind of job you have to wear a tie for, to skip back to work in our busy little town after his lunch break. He was tempted, but in the end, he chickened out.

Esther is a good runner. When we race I have a hard time staying in front. Letting her win is not even a consideration. I just have to concentrate on not letting her dust me.

These people aren't going anywhere. Why would they?

My favorite room of this house. The fact that we do not have a couch, or a single comfortable chair-- the kind with a high back that takes a load off your entire body, not just your feet-- makes my bed the only option for relaxing. When I pull those windows open and lie down, my worries float out and the world floats in. It's a peaceful world. I hear bits of gossip from the birds. And sometimes I hear them flirting or teasing each other. And the trees read the sky for me. Their soft swaying trunks and all those leaves, which dance and flutter in the warm breeze, tell me a more encouraging story than those that rattled, and shivered in the biting winter wind.

When the wind blows across the barley, making it ripple and roll, it is no longer earth, but sea.

If it weren't for horses. These fuzzy wuzzy creatures have helped Esther, immensely, to adapt to this foreign culture. They don't care what language she speaks,they trust her and she trusts them. The confidence that she has gained in herself by caring for, sitting atop at a walk, trot and gallop, and even steering these beautiful horses over jumps is impossible to measure. It's hers and hers alone. As scary as it is, I love watching her jump. I love how she gets temporarily off center when her horse leaves the ground, and then, instinctually, shifts her weight, keeps her eyes ahead, and rights herself. All by herself. Under her own power. I can't do it for her. And that is what makes it so wonderful.

It was Mother's Day in France a few weekends back. (La Fete des Meres). Esther and Ian and Isla picked me these roses from a bush that grows up our front stoop. They were breathtaking and powerfully fragrant. They came with a hand-drawn card from Esther with a picture of a mama sea turtle with a baby sea turtle on her back. I'll scan it soon and put it up here.

Isla loves cruising the streets of Vermenton while Esther is at art class. She goes so fast now I have to run full speed to keep up with her. A trike session with Isla is like an extreme sport. We are so ready to ditch the training wheels.


if you will,

an entire building

filled with old bones.

Isla heading up to the fossil floor at the Natural History Museum in Paris. (Muséum nationale d'Histoire naturelle) in the Jardin des Plantes.

Sorbet citron....

Glace at the Café Rodin. It's important to make a meal out of ice cream when it costs more than $10.

Esther went wild with my camera in the Musée Rodin. This shot above is a super close up of the lovers (The Kiss) you saw a few shots back. I like the way she got the sun sneaking through the gap between their sucking faces.
"I like Rodin because he is like me," she said. "He uses a lot of detail in his art."

And there is nothing more rewarding than exposing Esther to fine art. She is so appreciative, so mature in her examination of every piece. So grownup in her comments: "I love the way that woman's face is so true." It's impossible not to be inspired and wonder how any human being can become bored, or complacent, in a world that is so filled with beauty and passion.

More stuff to read over here, and here.


Bethany said...

Esther is such an old soul. I love her insights. I am still trying to see some of the things she has seen in her young life.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Betsy. Wonderful photos of France, and your children are looking so sophisticated (especially Esther!). The Rodin museum was my favorite place in Paris the one time I was lucky enough to be there. Thank you for reminding me of it!

Family Clement said...

Just beautiful!! Thank you for the little glimpses of your life. Your observations help me remember to slow down and enjoy the moment with my own family.

Emma said...

Oh my goodness Betsy! I don't want to hear another comment from you about doing the wrong thing by your kids by taking them to France. Just reading your blog this week makes me want to pack up my family and do something similar. I know you have had lots of hard struggle and moments of doubt, but the experiences you are giving your girls is priceless. (And I loved the photos of Isla's sturdy little back as she rides her bike around town.)

Betsy said...

Emma: YOu are so right. And I know, I really do. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much culture. And barring bankruptcy, too much paris could do that, I will continue to take advantage of it as much as possible.

Betsy said...

Anonymous: You have piqued my curiosity. Will you ever come out?

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Thank you so much for sharing these photos and the little tales to go with them. The one about the bed and the window with the gossiping birds outside made me want to go lie down, for *real* -- what a wonderful description. And I am jazzed to see the Rodin museum now, and the natural history one, too!

I live in Paris, and reading this makes me feel like I got to run away to some other land, too. What a wonderful post.

I agree with Bethany's comment about Esther, too. She really is a delightful "old soul." Not to slight Isla at all. I love the photos of her cruising on her little bike! You go, Isla!

Thank you, Betsy. :)

Kingsmom said...

Wonderful post. Just think what you would have missed if you'd headed back already. Enjoy your days!

6512 and growing said...

Why *do* we stop running as adults? I think I'm more amazed that my children run from room to room in our 800 sf house (occasionally with big crashes).
Thanks for stopping by 6512.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that is a runner -- or at least I consider her a runner because she runs for fun. I would LOVE to be a runner myself but I just cannot get myself to do it. I couldn't even run for a full minute without becoming winded ... but I can easily run around the playground with the preschoolers I manage at work! I love it!! I think if I had a preschooler in front of me that I was chasing I could easily be a runner myself! My friend likened me to a greyhound race dog -- I need a rabbit to chase ... except in my case it would be a kid : )

(A beautiful post!)

Anna said...

What a beautiful post! I love how you describe your daughters and are curious about our own very nature.

Thank you for stopping by my blog your comment made my day.

Travel mama said...

What a great post, I love your writing and photo's... How amazing to be in France with your family. My children and I are learning French, and I have been pondering taking us to France for a spell to really seal the deal. I am very inspired. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and sharing yours with me. I feel extremely moved to be connected with so many other mothers around the world... raising their families, sharing moments, idea's, and mama love.

Olivia said...

Adults don't want to appear unseemly