time stands still




As things change so fast and inevitably, it would be nice, to have a special place where all the memories and flavors and smells of our life which are beginning to fade away would be safely stored. On hand, for whenever we feel the need.

The emotions raging when we were teens wanting to change the world, with headphones hanging from our neck, hours spent on our secret diary or chatting on the phone as if our lives depended on it. Or, further back, the laughters of the afternoon parties to which our mama took us, the special taste of the confectionary sugar we would steal from a cake with a finger, and the magic of the summer days where our games continued uninterrupted. Then, farther still, our baby cries, the smell of the body lotion after the afternoon bath or the plastic spoon that fed us with our first vegetables. Right until the blurred image of our parents as we met their eyes for the first time.

I’m lucky to have at least one such special place still in my life. A house with white walls near the sea I go and visit at least twice a year, almost like on a pilgrimage. It has hosted not only 3 generations of children and the birth of a few family members. Time has taken its toll on it too, of course. But, if i choose the right drawers and cupboards, time stands still. The tiny delights above belong to my grand-grand-mother whom I never met.



Les yeux mi-clos – With eyes half-shut

Ce weekend, j’avais envie de grand air. De vert à perte de vue. Silence. Grands espaces. J’aime la ville, mais à petites doses. Finalement, on a dû rester à la maison, entre autres parce que tu avais mal à l’oreille. Une partie de moi avait tellement peu envie de rester enfermée, pas cette fois-ci, que je me suis sentie raidir. J’ai fait les cents pas dans l’appartement, comme un fauve en cage.

Et puis, j’ai vu que tu ne rigolais plus. Tu étais allongée dans le grand lit, les yeux mis-clos, immobile. Malgré les médicamentes, ton petit visage fermé parlait ta souffrance. Cette vision a pris le dessus sur mon propre besoin de repos, m’a étirée à ton hauteur. Je t’ai prise dans mes bras et me suis allongée dans le lit, ton petit corps blotti contre le mien.

Et là, tu as beau avoir grandi et ne plus être le petit bébé qui tenait à peine sur mon ventre, il s’est produit, encore une fois, quelque chose qui m’éblouit et m’émerveille comme la première fois. C’est à dire que ton corps s’abandonne, de plus en plus lourd sur ma poitrine, ta respiration ralentit jusqu’à devenir un souffle profond et régulier et, au bout de quelques secondes – le temps de compter jusqu’à dix, pas plus – tu dors, apaisée.

On pourrait m’apporter toute sorte d’explication rationnelle et scientifique à ce phénomène, diagrammes, analyses et comparatifs à l’appui. Jamais ça ne pourrait ternir la force de cet instant. Ni apporter sinon une faible lumière sur le mystère du pouvoir que revêt, au moment du plus haut besoin, non pas la parole, pauvre outil surestimé et déchu de sa mission par évidente inadéquation, mais l’odeur de cette peau ou le battement de ce cœur qui sont les miens, indépendamment de mon contrôle. Un message morse de sureté,  courant primordial et archaïque de cellule en cellule, écho des neuf mois de ta première vie intra-utérine où les parois de mon vente étaient ton horizon et ton berceau. Devant cet insondable, je suis et je reste à jamais humble spectatrice, touchée par la grâce de la Vie qui nous traverse tous.

Belle semaine, chers amis, que vos journées soient douces.


This week end I had longed for fresh air and greenery on end. Silence and space. I do love big cities, but until a certain point. Instead we’ve had to stay at home, among others because you had a pain in your ear. At first it was tough. I didn’t was to stay indoors, not this time, I craved to escape and paced the apartment like a caged animal. 

Then I saw that you were not laughing any more. You just laid motionless in our bed, with eyes half-shut. Despite the medication your pain was all over your saddened little figure. That made me forget my own tiredness and rise to the occasion. I took you in my arms and went back to bed with you lying on me.

You are no longer the tiny baby who didn’t even make it to my hips when I cuddled you like that, yet once again something happens at that precise moment which still leaves me speechless like the first time. Your body gives in and becomes heavvier on my chest. Your respiration slows down to a deep and regular breath in my ear and, in a few second – count to ten, no more – you are fast asleep. 

One could bring me any sort of scientific explanations and measurements for this. Charts and digits. It wouldn’t change a thing to the force of this moment. It wouldn’t shed but a dim light on the mystery of the power that the smell of my skin or the beating of this heart of mine visibly have upon you, just for themselves, in such times of utter necessity when words are so evidently not up to the task. This primary, timeless, all-is-ok morse message running from cell to cell, an echo of your first nine-month life in utero when my womb was your crib and horizon. In front of this, I am and forever will be humbled. Touched by the grace of the Life which runs through all of us.

I wish you all a lovely start of the week, friends.