Printemps by Jackie (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse Photo: my 8-year-old, Jackie, collected these flowers and made the vase... the poppy flew off before her father snapped the picture.

le printemps (pran-tahn) noun, masculine = spring

Il y a des pluies de printemps délicieuses où le ciel a l'air de pleurer de joie. There are delightful spring rains wherein the sky seems to be weeping for joy. --Paul-Jean Toulet

A Day in a French Life...
Opening my front door I see the end of winter. While the groggy old oaks are still leaf bare, the abricotier* and almond trees are covered with the blossoms of spring. The dogwood beside our garage trembles as a crimson-chested rouge-gorge* delights in hopping from branch to branch causing a flurry of pink petals to fall and carpet the earth below with sweet-scented confetti. Joining the fête* are the sunshine yellow pissenlit* which spread their cheer across the lawn. Further down the lane the fun continues with the tipsy coquelicots* now hanging from the stone walls; soon they will cover the fields beyond.

I envy the feathered and petaled merrymakers who bring the dull countryside to life while I remain sluggish to give up this cozy hibernal shell. At once yearning for the soleil,* I cling to the coziness of winter and early evenings spent fireside.

Stepping out of the house, I see the dwindling woodpile--only five logs left to burn. A trail of ants leads into the house as if to coax me out of it. The campanile sounds and my thoughts turn to the village where my neighbors are giving up their winter shells: shutters are opening and blankets are airing from the second floor windows; below, the cafés now stretch out over the trottoir* along with an end of winter yawn. And just like a contagious yawn, so is the merrymakers' excitement for spring which pulls me over to the dogwood and under its shower of pink petal confetti now tickling my toes.

References: un abricotier (m) = apricot tree; le rouge-gorge (m) = robin; la fête (f) = party; le pissenlit (m) = dandelion; le coquelicot (m) = poppy; le soleil (m) = sun; le trottoir (m) = sidewalk

: hear Jean-Marc pronounce the word 'printemps': Download printemps.wav

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France"...a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language."

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