Printemps here at our vineyard.
"It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" -Mark Twain. Don't miss hearing the French version, below.
: fièvre de printemps = spring fever
MAS DE LA PERDRIX
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FRENCH BLOOPER - ECOUTEZ!
I'm not referring to last week's audio file--the one mispronounced by me! Today's blooper, by Jean-Marc, is heard in the first part of the example sentence, below. Listen to the accompanying file. Can you hear the cuss word? What was it? Listen to the end for the entire example sentence. And mille mercis to my husband, who, in between farming his grapevines, does a wonderful job recording these French words!
=> Download MP3 file or Download Wav
Et ça, vous savez ce que c'est? C'est la fièvre du printemps. Parfaitement, c'est comme ça que ça s'appelle. Et quand on l'a attrapée, on a envie - ah, on ne sait pas vraiment de quoi. Mais ce qui est sûr, c'est que cette envie, elle est si forte qu'elle donne mal au coeur. En fait, on dirait que la seule chose. - Mark Twain
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
"Guilt & Spring Fever"
Last Monday I burst out of bed, excited to tell you about the treasure I found in the municipal poubelle. The essay was going to be called "Dumpster Diving in France."
Then I realized that in order to fully appreciate a key element of the story (cardboard, though that is not the treasure I'm referring to), you would need to first understand why I prowl around for it in the neighborhood trash bins, and why not everyone appreciates its juste valeur as a garden accouterment (see Shamed by the Married Man's Mistress).
I was set to write both stories last week, only, after posting the first, I fell into a slump so deep I could not even thank you for standing up for me faced with that long-legged, round-bunned, honey-haired garden critic!
I think this set-back had to do with breaking a personal writing rule: Write about your own faults, not those of others (and if you do write about the faults of others, make sure they are your husband's and make sure they are funny!).
(If I would break that rule more often, oh the stories I could tell you!)
Then again, the lull last week--one continuing on into this bright sunny Monday--could be due to a kind of vapor. It is reaching for me again now, curling its fingers around my guilty shoulders, pulling me out of my writing chair...towards all that cardboard and straw that covers my garden like Christmas wrap! Those invisible vapor beads are the scent of spring!
The sweet and musky fragrance of the earth as I rake my fingers through it, c'est enivrant! Intoxicating! What a joy to be able to plunge my hand into the ground for the first time since beginning this gardening odyssey, some 6 six years ago. Back then, I would try in vain to push a seed into the concrete earth. Since, I've learned to pile cardboard, straw, (and any organic matter that my dog won't eat) over the earth. Wait a few months and that concrete is moist sand in my hands.
Or something like sand. All I know is that sitting beside a patch of fragrant earth--and running my hands through its softness, sensing its possibilities--it's all I want to do these days. I can't explain it. Mark Twain can't explain it. But he endeavors to, here, in the end of his famous passage on la fièvre du printemps:
En fait, on dirait que la seule chose qui nous ferait plaisir, ça serait de partir, de quitter toutes ces vieilles affaires parce qu'on les voit tous les jours et qu'elles nous fatiguent."
It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer....
Oui, oui, Monsieur Twain, c'est ça! I want to be a wanderer, wandering the winding paths of beans, wildflowers, and trees, and tucking in, from time to time beneath their shady leaves. Sitting snug between the aloe vera and a carpet of parsley, snapping up sweet sprigs to chew while looking out over This Great Green Work in Progress, I am satisfied even before I have reached the final course, whatever that may be, wherever that may lead.
I need not go anywhere else. And if ever I am missed, you know where to find me. Just follow the scent of spring.
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Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi