Olive trees in Provence 

Olive trees in Provence 

So I know it has been several weeks since you have heard from me on the Weekly Letter. Given that my last post was on busting the Fairy Tale of Entrepreneurship story, I hope I did not worry you that I’d burned out and disappeared off the face of the Earth (I did get a few concerned emails/texts from friends). No I was well overdue for a break and then finally got a truly beautiful one with my family in Provence, France. I was extremely blessed (to put it mildly), to get to go with my parents and sister on a bike trip through this living painting. For all you artists out there, this one is worth saving for.


Red poppies in Provence

Red poppies in Provence

And with some time away, the inspiration is flowing again (a counterpoint for America’s culture around not taking vacations). So here I’d like to reflect on the joys and sorrows of beautiful vacations for those of us lucky enough to have the opportunity every once and a while.


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Like Scotland, Provence was a place that made me never want to leave. Ever wonder why so many painters lived there? The thought never really occurred to me. And then I went there and most moments of every day I felt like I was a small figure in a spectacular landscape painting, marveling at the seas of red poppies or lavender, or beautiful white ponies grazing in a cherry orchard (I’m not kidding you here). One town in the area is even famous for being the source of the paint color ochre which coming straight out of the ground and is used for the brightly colored buildings perched atop the ochre infused hillside. (The shutters on the building are some of the best color pairings – leading a member of our group to conclude that the paint stores there only sold fabulous colors that worked with the ochre pallet). OK, enough gushing about Provence.


Roussillon where the paint color ochre comes from

Roussillon where the paint color ochre comes from

What I wanted to write about is the feeling you get when you visit a place and love it so much you don’t want to leave (some of us up and move and actually don’t leave). I want to be very honest about my tumultuous love affair with North Carolina. One of the things I loved about Provence was how clean the streams were, and the air, a total respect for the environment unfortunately becoming less common around the world. To be fair – Provence relies a lot of tourism in addition to farming. Their residents cannot afford to leave a bunch of trash on the side of the road or dump chemicals or agricultural runoff into their rivers.
 
But that does not lessen the contrast to living in a place where most of the rivers are brown, trash in routinely thrown out car windows onto the side of the road, and the air as you leave the Appalachians and approach the areas surrounding the Triangle gradually fades the beautiful blue sky. Yikes. I know this is harsh. I love North Carolina, but we have some work to do. 

And so why not just move to a place where nature is respected, and the streams run clear, and the air is free from pollution? I have been thinking about this over the past few days as I settle back into life in North Carolina and I mourn leaving a pace that is so incredibly moving.
 
And there is this feeling that I have an obligation to follow my path and make the world around that path more beautiful than I found it, rather than just jumping to another path. For now that means maintaining a beautiful, chemical free garden with my partner on a road with no sidewalks, and making sure our lawn is a lovely (albeit small) clover covered respite for pollinators free from mosquito fogging all around us that kills all the good critters too, and encouraging my friends and neighbors to ride their bikes, and doing my best to reduce waste from my house, and support businesses that treat the environment with respect. It means appreciating the hard work that folks have put into create these beautiful little islands of nature in the area or to restore the health of one creek at a time or who toil and sacrifice in some other area to help make our community more beautiful. It means appreciating that funky weed next to our deck that turned into a beautiful flower that would likely look exotic to a French tourist.
 
Finding love on your path and making the world more beautiful is our power even if a lot of pain and loss is involved as with all areas of love. Thank you, once again for listening and happy pollinator week!


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