Sunday, January 23, 2005

still life- cup and clementine

I am on my way to Paris again but this time I am forty-one. I have narrowly escaped my official seat in 8/68 - sitting next to a lunatic who says he has 'fesses fragiles' (fragile buttocks) - and am free to muse.
Yesterday was my birthday. Special morning treatment from my beloved included - amongst other things! - fresh mango and orange juice. My gift was a painting of the wonky cup from our favourite Cornish potter, which I bought Julian for Christmas and which featured in our discussion on depicting organic and non organic objects. It was partnered with an equally organic clementine and was the first, maybe the last, in the series of 'shower paintings'. It took my breath away.
Julian has become obsessed with a bloke called Duane Keiser who, on his website, advertises, paints and sells 'A Painting A Day' It has become one of the morning rituals getting up, as one used to for the first cigarette, for today's tiny bottle top, kiwi or wineglass, and Julian is trying to work out a way he can pull off such a coup through his site. Firstly, the title is great, especially as it begins with an A and therefore will come up first in google. Secondly, Duane must be awesomely disciplined. However, though bringing in $100 a day on his postcard paintings alone, I'm not so sure he would ever have the spontaneous generosity to paint a beautiful wonky cup and clementine in the shower for his love's birthday.
Julian's eyes became sealed to his computer screen early on, so I was glad when, returning from a little wander with the kits, I was spontaneously asked to join Manuel and Nadine on a walk. I had no idea they meant half way up the bloody Ventoux, and if I had I may not have agreed, but squeezing through lime rock passages and treading needled and canopied paths under a double rainbow on the ascent to the 'bergerie', was a wonderful way to celebrate. It was followed (thankfully, as I had only had a bowl of artichoke and cep soup and had walked - and farted - up hill for four hours) by dinner out with the sort of friends who, when they get out their diary, you see "truffle omelette" written on Wednesday; the sort of friends who laugh heartily at the unfortunate consequence of soups - once famously in Jo's face as Julian got up to go to the loo - and with whom it is perfect to unwind and celebrate yet another year in this odd but miraculous life.

My arrival at this age marks my acceptance of a path without children. Last year - the doomsday age of the IVF clinic's favourite line: - We don't treat women over forty - I was watching whales and dolphins off the coast of Monterey and, though with Julian and a close girlfriend, I was drenched with the grief of infertility. This year, half way up a mountain with a wonky cup half full and its fruitful accompaniment in my heart, surveying the terrain of our new life I felt a huge sense of excitement and I knew that the longing had become belonging.


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