le dos
une citrouille


Blue door = porte bleu (c) Kristin Espinasse

ténébreux (teh-neh-bruh) adjective
1. dark, gloomy 2. saturnine (person)

the feminine is ténébreuse (teh-neh-bruz)

Also: ténèbres (n.f.pl) = darkness, gloom

Citation du Jour

L'homme sait enfin qu'il est seul dans l'immensité indifférente de l'univers d'où il a émergé par hasard. Non plus que son destin, son devoir n'est écrit nulle part. A lui de choisir entre le royaume et les ténèbres.

Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance. Neither his destiny nor his duty have been written down. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose. --Jacques Monod

A Day in a French Life...

I stood in la place* holding my 4-ounce jar of mayonnaise. The store clerk didn't say "papier ou plastique,"* so I collected my change, picked up the cold jar and walked back to the quiet square to rejoin the kids and wait for our ride out of the village of Salernes.

Max and Jackie chased each other along the cobblestones in a game of "Trap-Trap." Max was le loup* about to attraper* his little sister, a.k.a., le mouton.* When she changed her mind about wanting to play (read, when she got caught) Max protested, "Mauvaise Perdante!"*

I couldn't help but wonder what the square would look like during "la saison touristique." The shutters might receive a fresh coat of paint in sage green, or bleu lavande,* geraniums would tumble from earthenware pots, and a lazy cat would stretch just behind some lace curtains.

Presently, la place was somber, ténébreuse. The chipped and weatherworn shutters were closed, empty benches framed the square. No cats, not even a tiger lily in a vase.

I stood there passing the jar of mayonnaise from one hand to the next. I tried to put it in my coat pocket, but the jar was too big, so I settled for warming my hands one at a time.

Now and then Jackie would bolt up, thrusting cold fingers around my waist, threatening to knock that jar of mayonnaise free, for once and for all. "Je ne suis pas une mauvaise perdante!" she cried.

"No sweetie, you're not a sore loser."

I observed the pot of mayonnaise; the label read: "Un goût fin et délicat." A poetic jar of "may-oh-nayz."

Fin et délicat. Just like this French life. Fine. Still delicate. Fitting into a foreign culture has been a silent struggle. (Ask my French husband, who might tell you,"a very loud struggle!")

I realized, shivering there in the square, listening to my two little Franco-Americans rattle on in a language still foreign to me, how my dreams continue to unfold, delicately; on their own terms, not mine.

*References: la place (f) = the (village) square; papier ou plastique = paper or plastic; le loup (m) = wolf; attraper = to catch; le mouton (m) = sheep; mauvaise perdante = sore loser; la saison touristique (f) = the tourist season; bleu lavande = lavender blue

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ Give $10    
♥ Give $25    
♥ Give the amount of your choice

To purchase our book-in-progress, click here.