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TODAY’S WORD: le crépuscule
: twilight, dusk, gloaming, nightfall
EXAMPLE SENTENCE & AUDIO FILE
Listen to all the French in today's story via the sound file below. Then scroll to the vocabulary section to check your language comprehension.
Le crépuscule c’est la lumière incertaine qui succède immédiatement au couché du soleil. The twilight is the blurred light that immediately follows the sunset.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE…by Kristi Espinasse
“Just 5 more minutes,” my husband says, as we gaze at the glowing red Moroccan sky. Jean-Marc’s bare feet are planted in the wet sand on the smooth shore of Agadir. We’ve been standing a long time before le coucher du soleil, until all that remains are ink black lines drowning out the fiery blaze beyond. The horizon resembles molten lava.
Jean-Marc is transfixed by the final curtain on this radiant show called “Nightfall.” Only 5 days ago the curtains were drawn on an episode in his own life. After a chapter called “Rouge-Bleu” and another called “Mas des Brun” (2 vignobles), Jean-Marc has reached the end of the current chapter “La Cave”. He has sold his wine shop and for once in his life he doesn’t have a plan. Looking straight ahead can be blinding.
“Don’t stare at the sun,” Jean-Marc cautioned, taking my hand as the soleil made its descent into the Atlantic. Looking away I catch another glorious scene: all the colors of the sunset are reflecting on the wet sand. C’est merveilleux!
As the sun goes down I close my eyes and carefully make a wish. My vœu is to grow closer and closer to my husband, like the colors melding together on the horizon.
When next I open my eyes, something magical happens…
THE NEWLYWEDS (Les Jeunes Mariés)
A few strangers approached us from behind, waving a smartphone. “We were adjusting the settings on our new camera when we got this picture of you two….” The young couple pointed enthusiastically at the phone’s screen.
Jean-Marc and I were caught off guard but were soon reassured by two smiling faces. “We just got married,” the strangers offered and the joyous sparkle in their eyes was contagious.
“Vous êtes en lune de miel? You are on your honeymoon?” Jean-Marc asked, and so began a little conversation in the sunset's afterglow.
Before we said goodbye to les jeunes mariés, I typed my email address into the woman’s phone, thanking her for her offer to send copies of the photos. “It will be a nice souvenir of our trip. Merci beaucoup!” I say, gazing at the image of a peaceful couple—us—holding hands before the sunset. In an instant, our 28-year married life flashes before me. Next, I think about the newlyweds innocently beginning their own nuptial journey. Whoah! Like molten lava it will be beautiful, it will sizzle, and it will sometimes burn.
One thing that will help any marriage, new or decades-old, is the support from friends and family--even the benediction of strangers, and in this case it was reciprocal: in their photo, the young couple captured an ideal image of our union and in return we left them with a blessing.
“Tous nos vœux de bonheur pour un long et heureux mariage! All our wishes of happiness for a long and happy marriage."
Back in our hotel room, I found an email from The Newlyweds, containing the peaceful photo—our best version of our married selves. Sweet and united. “Closer and closer.” Remembering the sparkle in the young couple's eyes I turned to my husband and smiled: In this next chapter we could be newlyweds….
It was just an idea—an inspiration. Because at this point we don’t have a plan for this next chapter. It’s kind of like The Twilight Zone…. Only I don’t want a husband zombie roaming around the house all day. That’s been my turf for the past 5 years while JM was away at the shop all day. I wonder…is anyone out there hiring? I’ve got a stellar candidate who is thoroughly knowledgeable in French wine and who appreciates a good sunset anywhere in the world.
24/7 or full-time housemates in this new chapter. (Only now, at the close of my story, do I understand the irony in my “closer and closer to hubby” wish :-) Currently, I have put Jean-Marc to work making lunch as I finish typing up this post. Earlier, he washed the windows, changed a burnt-out lightbulb, and swept the front patio. I'm going to keep him busy! (Photo credit: Majdouline B.)
IN BOOKS: Your Name Is Renée: Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France
While in Morocco I had the chance to read Ruth Kapp Hartz's story "Your Name is Renee". I have read many Holocaust accounts and this one is especially touching as it is the survival story of a friend and reader of this journal--and it takes place in France. Thank you, Ruth, and Stacy Cretzmeyer (who told Ruth's story) for this unforgettable read. Interestingly there were several mentions of Morocco as Ruth's father initially avoided deportation by joining the French Foreign Legion in Morocco. Please check out Ruth's book.)
Ruth (center) and Monique visited us at our vineyard in 2009.
Barry, Ruth, and Monique tasting Jean-Marc's wine at our first vineyard.
Ruth also sent this snapshot from our kitchen at the vineyard. It's a sweet souvenir. Merci, Ruth. I hope others will read your highly recommended book.
le crépuscule = twilight, dusk
le coucher du soleil = sunset
le vignoble = vineyard
le soleil = sun
la cave = wine shop
la lune de miel = honeymoon
C’est merveilleux! = it’s magnificent
le vœu= wish
les jeunes mariés = young married couple
Tous nos vœux de bonheur pour un long et heureux mariage! All our wishes of happiness for a long and happy marriage.
Sweet of the Week, No 7: "Les Pâtisseries Marocaines." On our third night in Agadir, we ordered room service. We shared a vegetarian pizza and, for dessert, these chewy honey and nut cookies. I hid several in the nightstand and was punished for hoarding them when a bunch of ants invaded my side of the bed!
A Message from Kristi: For 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.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety