The clock just ticked over to 6PM. I’m sitting at our kitchen table by the fire having lunch – carrot salad and grilled gluten-free bread, sliced very thin and topped with fromage brebiou (a soft cheese made from ewe’s milk). Ma Petite is sitting across from me thumbing through a French magazine that just happened to feature one of her favorite bands (Bonjour, Black Veil Brides!). Dreamy is putting the finishing touches on the bathroom renovation project.
You read that correctly. Lunch. It’s 6PM and I just finished lunch. And no, I didn’t sleep in this morning. We were up early, had coffee, went to the market, worked around the house, had breakfast and at 1PM, we stopped for une petite pause and had tea and madeleines. Afterward, between stoking the fire and our afternoon walk to play with the dogs, I’ve carved out enough time to work on the upcoming issues of Food Solutions Magazine and to write up a couple of new recipes for you here on the site, as well as edit some photos I’ve taken.
How is it these days are so relaxing, yet still so productive?
Here, in our tiny village in Normandy, working from home as we do, there is little sense of time or date. We’ve only been here one week today, and already we seem to be waking with morning light and stopping our work as the sun retires behind the hills.
There is no sense of hurrying to do… anything. Yet we are still getting things done. We’re also managing – even in the midst of the renovation chaos that has left us all a bit edgy and frustrated – to sit in the evening for a couple of hours to chat and sip French rose and to just be here, in the moment, where we are.
The pace is slower, more relaxed. Time to have a chat with your neighbor, to run with the dogs, to explore what is around you are the luxuries of this place. Lending time and careful attention to every meal regardless of how simple, that is a task revered. Stopping to listen when someone speaks to you, really listening to what they are saying and feeling, that is important.
Of course, these are all important aspects of life regardless of where you are. The difference here is that that importance is recognized, the “rat race” is scoffed at and people are applauded for taking a step back to really live life.
The most interesting observation to date for me is that while I shunned a rushed and hurried pace back in the States and we strove to keep our life simple and less structured than most of our friends and acquaintances, now I see there still existed a societal pull on us to “be” or to “do” a certain way or certain things.
I’m not voting for either way as “better” than the other, just an observation from where I sit today. Something to ponder while I stand over the stove preparing dinner… if I start right away, it should be ready in about three or four hours. Simple beef short ribs with roasted vegetables and a glass of red wine. You can grab my recipe for French Beef Stew (Pot-au-feu) here.