Monday, June 20, 2016

A NEW Summer arrives.

James, son of Zebedee, quit the family fishing business to join Christ’s inner circle.  King Herod Agrippa the First beheaded James in 44 A.D. because of his overly aggressive “Jews for Jesus” campaign.  Legend says St. James was buried in Spain, the exact location of which was revealed to a shepherd by a shaft of light.  On that spot in the town of Galicia, Catholics built the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  For centuries, pilgrims have trekked to the spot via the Camino de Santiago, or the St. James’ Way, for prayer, divine guidance and inner calm.

The Camino has many tributaries, including Via Tolosana through Arles, France beginning  at Alyscamps Roman cemetery and Cathedral of St. Trophyme.  I passed that serene and sacred place on Day Three of my personal journey.  And I needed some peaceful thoughts at that moment.  We’d just flipped off a driver who’d cut us off to nab THE parking space Allyson and I had struggled to find through 30 minutes of pedestrian and motor vehicle chaos twice around Arles’ old town center on market day.  Then, we spotted another.  Allyson darted left.  Another driver sped past us and swerved in a knick of time to avoid a mood-maiming collision by an inch or two.  Twelve minutes later, we breathed the smells of shrimp paella and roasting chickens and our eyes gulped piles of beautiful cheese rounds, plates of colorful cookies and all manner of interesting people.  When I popped an amaretti caramel cookie into my mouth, I started recovering my composure.  I marched on toward eventual enlightenment on Day Eighteen of Uncle Jeff’s Way of Gluttony. 

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Those are the first two paragraphs of a draft essay, which is not ready for publication. Summer begins this afternoon, which calls me to post on Carpe Summer.  Another excerpt from the draft essay follows  

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. . . Over the past twelve days, Allyson and I had visited the haunts of, or creations by, some people deemed indisputably cool by history: a restaurant in Aix-en-Provence frequented by Paul Cezanne, Van Gough's Asylum in St. Remy, Barcelona bar Els Quatre Gats of Picasso fame and on and on.  Being at any of those places does not make one cool or accomplished or anything remarkable.  

In 2008, I lost my ability to walk more than a couple of blocks.  While down, I regretted never having walked the Champs-Elysées with Allyson or having danced the tango, among other things. A new hip joint restored me, and I took advantage of my second change.  Seven years ago, I started this blog as an encouragement to myself to seize my opportunities.  We walked the Champs-Elysées a few weeks later.  We took a tango class and visited Argentina. Seven years later, bucket list items that can be checked with a credit card no longer interest me.  I’ve completed that list.  Mission accomplished.  Time to take inspiration from the some of the great creations and creators and apply it.

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Summer, I’m rested and ready.
Tapeo del Born, Barcelona