new chapter in my sabbatical began today. Since February 12, Martha and I have
lived the sabbatical leave in France together. I mean, really together. We
share a small two bedroom apartment. One room was Martha’s studio and the other
was our bedroom. I spent my time in the living room reading and writing and
Martha in her studio. We ate every meal together, drove together, walked
together, shopped together, and talked together. Today we are apart.
we drove 700 km north to Orly Airport in Paris to spend the night. Martha flew
successfully to Bergen Norway today to begin her 3 week artist-in-residence at
an atelier in Bergen with a former student, who now runs the atelier, Asbjorn
Hollerud. It’s a big deal for her and I am excited for her show on April 20 in
drove back today alone. That was a big deal too. Martha is the best navigator I
could ever imagine. She knows directions and has hunches about which highway to
take. We have been driving France successfully since 2000 together. I drive,
she navigates. Today I drove and navigated alone. It was weird.
of all, the radio would not turn off. I left Paris in crazy traffic with a
French radio station going at full blast. It would not respond to the volume
knob or go off. It just blathered. The desk clerk gave me specific directions
how to get out of our construction encircled hotel on to the major auto-route
A-6. It worked!
heavy and slow traffic, I figured out how to connect my iPhone to the radio and
play music (Over The Rhine) continually. But I got out of Paris successfully. The
photo above could be anywhere from Paris south 500 km. Grey, foggy and drizzly
and cold. The nicest thing about Paris was getting out of it! The next big
hurdle was to get through Lyon. The A-6 turns into the A-7 right in the heart
of the city. So I used my gps and dialed in a hotel south of the city. It
worked just great until it told me to take a turn in 400 meters. A turn showed
up, I took it, and found myself downtown Lyon, along the Rhone River, in heavy
traffic, away from the A-6 or 7! Where was Martha when I needed her!
I saw a sign pointing to A-6 direction of Marseilles (south of Lyon) and headed
to it and go out of Lyon after about an hour of wandering around laughing! Yes,
I laughed at getting myself into this.
trip south got better and better, sunnier and sunnier as I headed into
Languedoc. Martha emailed me when I got to a MacDonald’s rest stop (the one
restaurant with free wifi) that she had already landed in Bergen. She beat me
by two hours!
my next chapter begins of reading and writing in more solitude than I’ve ever
had. What a privilege.