Holidays are such a gift.
So here I am enjoying the home & hospitality of Dan & Kirsty Jones, in St Meard de Drone, in the heart of the Dordogne. It's mid evening and the sun is still beating down, although the heat of four O'clock is well past and the shadows have consumed the front garden. Dan is just coming back from an afternoon's teaching, carrying a guitar under each arm, and I am on the patio writing this in anticipation of another lazy evening meal and a bottle of the local wine. There will be cakes.
Life is good.
But then, it is good. Two and a half months on from moving, I get the chance to look back & to realise I am in such a wonderful place. All is gift. Yes, there are challenges, yes there are things that are pushing me, yes, there are concerns on the horizon. But when I compare these days with a year ago, these are good days indeed.
Let's stick with the holiday for a moment.
Friends are precious. Dan and Kirsty are, and have been for some years, precious friends to me. I value their kindness and generosity and thoughtfulness and humanity. The way they see the world, and live within it. To be their friend is to be fortunate. To talk, to think, to laugh, to consider, to share & be a part of their wider lives - this is the joy of friendship. And though we have hardly spent much time maintaining that friendship since last time I was here, falling back into it has been a joy. A gift. A grace.
There is a stillness here that blesses my soul. A restfulness, a peace.
But then, right now, that peace creeps up on me surprisingly often. A week to enjoy it taking first place is a splendid pleasure. And a reminder that when we do the right thing, it can live alongside us. Their decision to move out here has not been entirely trouble free (O Lord, grant them the sale of their house in Ponty) but it surely has been the right thing for them. Rightness brings peace. And my move also has carried that sense to me.
The light is slowly fading. Flo, my god-daughter, is ready for bed. I have been reading to her from The Enchanted Wood, a book I loved at that age. Life is good when you get to pass on old memories and start to work on living out new dreams.
Tomorrow I head off to St Emilion; if you've ever read my profile on this site, that should ring a bell. I've never been. I'm ridiculously pleased to be going there & am looking forwards to touring round a chateau. And, in the midst of a holiday, to reaching out and touching a little physical reminder of heaven.