10 for 10

There is something about mornings like this morning that remind me of France,  and the three - or was it four? - story house on the edge of the spa town of Bourbon Archambault where I stayed for four months with the Colliers. The house from which you could cut through the back yard and get to the parking lot of the supermarket and walk over to get bread. A baguette, obviously.

Back when there were still Francs, the cashier would open up the flat European cash drawer and pull them out. Back when Gauloises were 10 for 10, 20 for 20, 30 for 30. I would walk from the house to the castle, on the other side of town, with a moat and high walls and sad sunlight. Sometimes, when I am putting on eyeliner, which I never wore at the time, I remember the procession for St. Michael, around the pond at dusk. The lights, all candles, and the white horse, and the red capes. Afterward, there were quite literally chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and a cozy barn with mulled cider, I believe.

All these things I remember. I wonder what it would be like to live that life now, as as an adult. The farmhouses and bright cheeks and country hedges and frozen feet. The slow rhythms and crafts and baking. The retreat.