31 December 2013

New year triptych

Happy new year. Two days ago was the first anniversary of Laurence Hubbard 's death, a friend I had never even met. Years fly, people go. Death is always next door. Being aware of it is for me a way to be better prepared, stronger to support those who break down. What are you doing to live life to its full extent? Can we be more forgiving to others, and to ourselves as well? What about that extra hug we can give to the people we love? More hugs.

My grandfather, who turned 90 last month

Happy new year. Two days ago, I was driving back from my 90-year old grandpa's home, two hours away from Paris. His wife – an ordinary heroine – had passed away last year. I left my grandfather's house, deafened by the constant, loud chatter on TV that my sick uncle - still living there - would not turn off, even when no one was watching. My grandfather, whose white hair keeps reminding me of Victor Hugo, had already given up on him many years ago, impassively completing his arrow puzzles (the photo that you can see above, with a post-processing humbly inspired from Mike Shaw's technique) – difficulty levels 2-3 mind you, levels 4-5 having gotten too hard for him now. He was still the rock I had always known him to be, even if he was too tired to even walk outside on the balcony with me supporting his weight. But I'm glad I could have an even brief conversation with him, showing him my photos of Borneo kingfishers which reminded him of the small ones he had seen on river poles in his younger days. Better health.

Happy new year. Yesterday was my brother's thirtieth birthday. He turned out a fine young man, despite a partly unpleasant childhood. Sure enough he still sometimes has a doubtful taste of humour (different from mine but probably just as bad). And sure enough he's annoying to never read my stories and only respond to my emails a month late or when he needs me to be his shopping mule. But the years spent together as children can't be erased – and it's a boon that my mother, my three siblings and I get along so well, close to one another. Extra gentleness.

To life. Cheers – with a glass of orange juice in my hand.