Tuesday, November 07, 2017


My Aunt Phyllis died yesterday.

Not quite the opening from The Stranger, but being so far away I was having a hard time processing the grief.

In a surreal fashion, from France I managed to break the news to my parents who were located just outside the hospital.

Early the following morning I arose early in the darkness to leave Nice.  I bade a sad goodbye to the dear butterscotch feline named Phenix.  I will miss that dear cat.

And I was out the door for a place that somehow manages to be one of the longest sojourns I have had in a while.  It's amazing how much a place can become home in just a few short weeks.

I caught the tram to Place Massena, then took the bus out through the pastel Genovese-Belle Epoque Nizza.

The Nice-Cote D'Azur Airport passed without issue, and I took off on the first leg of my voyage north towards Zurich.  The flight out of Nice was spectacular.  The flight took off along the jetty island protruding into the Bay of Angels and then headed straight parallel across the belle Nice cityscape.

For the last month, I had sat on the promenade facing the other direction, watching these same planes take off over the Riviera sky space, while I did my French homework or translated Tintin.

We continued north for a flight over the snowy rugged Alps.  The white-covered cliffs of the mountain chain were awe-inspiring.  

Earlier in the week, I had rented a nice bike and biked some 50km back-and-forth to Antibes.  It was a beautiful ride along the Riviera's coast beach line. I went to Antibes to visit the Picasso museum there.  The museum features Picasso work from his sojourn in the Cote D'Azur.  All sorts of picassoed fruits-de-mer among other reduced images and dreams.  I find that whenever visiting a Picasso installation, I start perceiving faces differently--in more angular dimensions.  I see the cubism in the quotidian.  And on a flight to and through Switzerland, the angles of faces became even more profound.  I picassofy people's triangular noses, circled ears and angular jaws as I try to imagine how Picasso saw the world.

The best thing about flying Swiss Airlines is that they give you real Swiss chocolates.  That made my day.

I changed planes in Zurich, and killed time in the Zurich Airport and its very Zurich dimensions.  The Zurich Airport has some very interesting pockets of beautiful space.

With a quick breath of Swiss autumn cold, I changed planes to Palma.  We flew back down France and passed over some of the area I had just traversed--flying right over Avignon, that other Rome. 

Somewhere over the beauty of the Mediterranean, I stared out over the white-capped swell of the sea's waves.  The book I was reading, Carl Sagan's Contact triggered something deep in me:

"She had spent her career attempting to make contact with the most remote and alien of strangers, while in her own life she had made contact with hardly anyone at all. She had been fierce in debunking the creation myths of others, and oblivious to the lie at the core of her own. She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."

And I started to cry.  Tears streaming down as I looked out over the vastness of white-capped waves.  The sea stretched on in the horizon into infinity.

Warm, wet tears streaming down my face as I stared out into the vast beauty of the white-capped seas that stretched on.

I wept for my aunt, whom I would never see again.  I wept for her memories, that were now even more precious to me.

There is a sliver of immortality that rests in the memory of others.  

Perhaps the Speaker for the Dead would agree with such sentiments.

I dryed my eyes and felt a bit of the emotional weight off my weary shoulders.

We continued our flight over rocky rigid Baelric islands, circling over the green mountain plenispheres of Mallorca and Menorca.

We landed over Palma's splendor, and I grabbed my bag and hopped the bus through town.

My journey ended when I spied the windmill in front of me.  My journey ends, and least for the next few days, ensconced between two windmills.   

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