Friday, February 11, 2005

angels and sheep's bottoms

Three days at home and all (or at least most) obligatory correspondence, washing, dusting and bill paying were put on hold for my delicious god child Clara, who came to stay with her mama, my old friend and fellow Joni Mitchell fanatic, Asdis.
Clara was adopted (after several IVF attempts by her parents) at about the same time as Julian and I were embarking on our third and unsuccessful In Vitro treatment. In a park in south east London we sang silly songs, swung on swings and 'connected', and on the strength of that I became her God Mother. I was surprised at the time and, in our own state of constant mourning, unable to give much in my new role. However, after some in depth email exchanges with her ma, I realized that there are certain unspeakable things - the sense of fatal inadequacy in not being able to give your beloved a child, the yearning to nurture together and the wisdom that comes with letting go of control of your destiny - that you can know only if you have been through this particular journey. I have been entrusted, it appears, with being a witness to this process from the inside, and being, if need be, the 'outside' person she can turn to if she needs to know about it. I cannot imagine I will ever be called upon as the story of this adoption is a love story from first sighting, and Clara is an open and scrumptiously happy child. She is an angel who loves to smell thyme and rosemary, show and proudly waggle her perfect bottom to all, who speaks Icelandic, Dutch, French and English and who makes friends in the language of the soul with a confidence I have no knowledge of.
Walking to Bedoin together, a sixteen degree pre-spring prickle of heat creeping up our fleeced sleeves, took three times as long because of the fascination of morning ice on red sand sticking miraculously to fingers and the different clanger sounds in ochre caves, but was perfectly timed to spot the school carnival from the bar where we were having lunch. Clara put on her pink angel wings and landed delicately amongst the sailors, boulangers, clowns, butterflies and whores of the local school pageant as we all hummed along with traditional french songs sung in small voices. Clara, aged 3, hooked up with Elodie and Marie who, though older, seemed to bow to her wordless command and gave her kisses and flowers on parting.
The next day saw us setting up the rusty (or rather 'distressed') table and chairs in amongst the vines for a lunch of celeriac and pear soup and salad before hitting the Ventoux - slightly delayed by the bells and woolly bottoms of the shepherd's herd crossing the road - for a bout of sledging.

Desperate not to have to leave again today, feeling like I have been on tour for years, I must hang on to the fact that I am, in returning to providing a bass line for marionette angels' bottoms and sheep, supporting our miraculous - if precarious - existence while Julian does everything in his power to match duane keiser's prowess. I am nursing a perverse but ancient longing to be a kept woman and we are almost on our knees praying that someone crawls out of their winter overspend blues and buys a painting or two.

C'mon Everybody!


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