There is something about Provence that I can’t quite understand. It has a way of enveloping you, of transporting you from the everyday and it makes you feel as if you are living life in slow motion. The rest of the world disappears when I am in Provence… not an intentional decision, but one that just happens. I try and rationalise these feelings… Is it the beauty and the country way of life? Is it that I feel as if I am on holiday? I don’t think so… It’s more than that.. Provence has a magic, a special power, an unknown quantity that seeps into every part of my being and seduces in the best possible way. It happens time and time again… The romantic in me likes to think there is some kind of spell over our home… but I suspect I am not alone in my feelings about Provence.
In the last few weeks I have been busy… with Christmas, with family… but even still, I feel relaxed like a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ who has woken up refreshed after a long, long sleep… It is Provence… I am convinced… If I could package this up I would send you all a little vial of Provencal elixir… with the simple instructions… to inhale when needed.
When reflecting on the year ahead, I came to the conclusion that beauty is the key to so much. Provence has opened my eyes to appreciating the simple, the obvious… it has cleansed my mind of confusion. Beauty in our surroundings, in our thoughts and in our hearts can be the answer to so many questions… Beauty can be a balm… and beauty can be a tonic. A moment’s gaze on a sunrise like the one I have photographed above, can change your thinking… can change your mindset… seeing nature’s bounty up close and personal can put the world into perspective… and set us on the right path. Provence and beauty go hand in hand… but beauty, to state the obvious, is all around. Beauty is not only what we see… beauty is what we hear, what we read… what we speak and most importantly, what we think.
The key to beauty is to have our eyes wide open… to be aware, to observe… to really, really look… to never take for granted that which can re-invigorate and re-energise us. We must try and recognise beauty when it is offered… be ready and willing to commit… and we should reserve an ever-expanding place in our hearts for all that beauty brings.
As I watched the sun setting over the Alpilles mountains, the chain of rugged limestone bumps that run through our part of Provence, I thought how gentle and soft the sky looked in contrast to that morning’s offering when the clouds were ablaze with colour. Nature was quietening down, ready to rest and restore herself for another day… garnering her energy in readiness for tomorrow’s beautiful offering…
2013… ‘Beauty’ will be my word… xv