The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Local Miracle

I'm not sure how this happened. The calendar on the wall (which purports to be an Outer Banks calendar but which for the March photo clearly shows mountains in the background of an idyllic beach scene... I think I got ripped off) tells me that it's been four years to the day since I moved to France. Four years! That means that Lyon has moved past Pittsburgh on the list of places I've lived the longest, to take a distant third behind Chapel Hill and Charlotte.

Four years is long enough that at times I take things for granted. For example, the pictures attached here show the Cathedral St-Jean, which I walk past every single day, usually without so much as an upward glance. It's just your friendly neighborhood miracle, 1000 years old and having taken 400 years to build, site of the 14th-c. consecration of Pope John XXII and the wedding of Henri IV to Marie de Medici; inside are found a 13th-c automated astronomical clock, two splinters of the True Cross, the hearts and finger bones of various saints, and so forth (no photography allowed inside, unfortunately).

So last weekend I decided to actually take a few moments and poke around. I hadn't been inside the cathedral since the first few weeks after we moved here; needless to say it hasn't changed much. There was some sort of conference going on in the nave, with a guy droning on about the ministry and so on, so I couldn't go look at the clock, but I did poke around the treasury (the Pope's slippers! A coffer looted from Constantinople!). It's good to pinch yourself now and again, to look around you, to open your eyes a little.

The good news is I'm going home to NC for a week or so starting Friday. Here's a good going-home song for you:

Monday, March 08, 2010

A Sunny Weekend, For Once

Not this weekend that just ended, but the one before (and the one that produced the Circus People pictures). I actually had to find my sunglasses, deep in a drawer where they'd lain untouched since January.

In the course of my every-other-weekend trip to Chinatown to stock up on necessities-- kim chi, bean sprouts, sriracha sauce, pho ga, hoisin sauce-- I stopped at the terraces on the banks of the Rhone near La Guillotiere to sip a cold Kirin Ichiban and watch the skaters and BMXers dropping in, catching air, grinding rails. I utterly failed to time the camera shutter accurately enough to catch someone in midair; oh well.

But while I was watching, a blind man [tall black guy, foreground, plaid shirt] walked up to the edge of the bowl, listening carefully to the skate wheels roaring back and forth in the bowls, and traced the lip of the bowl pensively with his cane for a few moments before turning away.

Wonder what he was thinking.