Oreilles, ecouter & 25 years ago tomorrow....
How to say 'minor crime' or misdemeanor' in French? And a fishy story for you today....

s'emparer & seizing the mystery of communication from 'beyond'


I wonder if today's story is confusing or if it may sound strange? Then again, telepathy--whether with the living or the dead--is a mystery! (painting from 1880 of  our seaside town, La Ciotat, by Johan Barthold Jongkind)

Today's word: s'emparer

    : to grab, seize, take hold of

Example Sentence:
Au tournant du xxe siècle, les partisans du spiritisme s’émerveillent des progrès de la technologie et s’en emparent pour démontrer la validité de leurs thèses sur les phénomènes parapsychiques, comme la télépathie ou l’interaction avec les défunts. -Les spectres magnétiques de Thomas Alva Edison

At the turn of the twentieth century, partisans of spiritualism marvel at the progress of technology and seize it to demonstrate the validity of their theses on parapsychic phenomena, such as telepathy or interaction with the deceased.

 A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

The Other Side

During a morning swim in the sea, I begin looking for my daughter who works in one of the paillotes de plage, or beach restaurants right here along the shore. Normally, I try not to be so conspicuous when I pass by Jackie's workplace (often on foot, via the boardwalk)...but after her father nearly ran his canoe ashore while spying on her, I figure a lap or two...in the near vicinity... is innocent enough.

Some 30 feet off shore, wearing my giant sunhat, I'm doggy paddling past the restaurant and its rows and rows of transats. Glancing over the sun chairs to the dining area, I can't see my daughter. I do see the bartender, the beach attendants, and the manager. I'm sure Jackie is working today... Why isn't she anywhere in sight? 
When next I catch sight of her and begin watching my daughter from afar, I am visited by a thought that's been on my mind lately, especially since close friends of ours are grieving the loss of their son. I wonder as they do: are the dearly departed watching us from beyond? And can they somehow communicate with us?
Being somewhat in another realm myself --I mean, far out in the seafloating--whilst my daughter is on material ground (the solid shore)--my swim provides another perspective on this afterlife mystery....
Looking to shore, I can see my dear one. She is currently unaware of my loving regard from "beyond" as she goes about her busy workday. 
Ah, she is wearing her new shorts and the restaurant's t-shirt. Is that a white bandana in her hair? I see she is sporting a ponytail today. And look at her go! She's her usual efficient self...when at work at least! 
I am now smiling from afar when suddenly my daughter pauses and her eyes scan the horizon.  Does she sense that I am out here? Oh, that gut feeling. Hers is particularly strong!
What with hundreds of tourists in the water, I easily hide behind a cluster of swimmers. It's best she does not know I am around. It will only interrupt her. And she needs to stay on track. Oh! There are some customers! Hurry, Jackie! I can see them even before my daughter does, and she suddenly turns, as if by an inkling... and greets them with that lovely smile. 
My heart swells so big that I begin to float away, along the shimmering barrier that separates us, when I see my dear girl turn once more. She is walking towards me now! 
Ouf! She is only on her way to set another table (still completely oblivious of my presence on the other side of the shore). Good. Keep going, Jackie. You are doing great! Today the restaurant, tomorrow the sky's the limit.
I'm swimming away now. I've got to let her be. Goodbye my girl. Though you can't see it--somebody, on The Other Side, is sending you good energy!
s'emparer = to grab, seize 
la paillotte = a restaurant along the beach that can be taken down at the end of the season
le transat = sunbed, deckchair
ouf! = phew!
BOOK UPDATE: THE LOST GARDENS, by Jean-Marc & Kristi Espinasse
Jean-marc and kristi around 2010
Photo of Jean-Marc and me taken midway into the first vineyard project--right when things were calming down--and just before life stirred up once again...

Reader feedback from Chapter 5 of our memoir, The Lost Gardens:

I had always wondered how you actually got going, so my thanks to Jean-Marc for the insight. I think that for me there is sense of wonder at the way you both balance your writings.  The story would not be the same if it came from a single author. Keep it up. --Mike Young

Thank you, Mike, for your note! I hope it will encourage others who have not yet bought the book, to jump in and follow our ongoing narrative about our vineyards and our struggles. 

Vineyard in Sainte Cecile les vignes

Excerpt from The Lost Gardens

At some point, I started to be disconnected from the reality since, at that point, everything I was doing ended in a positive result. This led to a lot of excess confidence which caused some big tensions between me and my wife. But since I felt certain I was right, I thought that these disagreements were not worth debating and I was sticking to my own ideas, insisting on them even when they made my wife nervous or uncomfortable as she held on to those "unstable ladders" that I climbed, two rungs at a time.

Even with no experience, I really felt like I was going to rock the wine world with the upcoming harvest, making wines which would rapidly become the most famous ones in the area... and beyond.

That was indeed my euphoric state of mind a few days before our first harvest began...and this, just one year after I had suffered from my first depression.

Click here to order The Lost Gardens, and begin reading right away.

Jean-marc t-shirt

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety