What comes to mind when you think of summer? Vacations? Hot weather? Long days? Flowers? Fruits in season? Barbecues? Outdoor living? All of the above and more?
In France even the cows are happy it’s summer because they get to eat from all the fresh green meadows. I wonder about the ringing in their ears with those big bells on their necks.
Here are some of the summer pleasures we’ve been able to enjoy these past few weeks. Barbecues!
A Saturday afternoon barbecue with some french friends in their yard with good food, good company and a most enjoyable time meeting their neighbors and trying to use our french language skills.
This was a really great afternoon! Laurent barbecued several different kinds of meat and Aysa (who is Turkish) made grilled vegetables, and several Turkish dishes to accompany the meat. Flowers!
There are beautiful blooming flowers everywhere! Every town has lots of hanging baskets and planters bursting with flowers in vibrant colors. Many balconies have pots of flowers too.
I have always enjoyed planting lots of flowers in the spring and having pots of flowers blooming all summer on our deck. Since I have no place to do that this year I have really enjoyed being surrounded by flowers everywhere we go.
Foods! There’s the seasonal foods of summer.
Also apricots, melons and grapes (not all are used in wine making). In the north of France we found an oyster farm with lots of people eating oysters right on the sidewalk by the ocean.
Vacations! As I said in the last blog all of France is on vacation this month so we did likewise making a trip to a part of France we have not been to before (and we’ve seen a lot of France over the years!). We traveled north to the coast of Bretagne and Normandy to discover new God-created beauty we’d not seen, new histories we’d not heard and experiences with the french language.
We visited the Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast) on the northern coast of Bretagne. It’s a beautiful collection of pink granite rocks stacked one on top of the other in very interesting ways. These were the coves pirates hid out in years ago but now it’s a vacationers haven for sailing, kayaking and wind-surfing.
There are those creative types that have to express art when they see beauty.
In Étretat we found God’s art work that many artists have been trying to copy. Monet painted at this shoreline often because of the exquisite changes of light and color on the water and land.
In between these two naturally beautiful places is Mont St. Michel, another exquisite place. It was a haven for those devoted to the worship and service of God, as originally it was an abbey, built in the eight century. It has long been preserved and recognized for it’s distinctly unique position, built on an island of granite that at high tide is surrounded by water.
Visits! Summer is often a time to visit friends and family with lots of time to just enjoy talking and being together relaxing. We were able to catch up with two very dear missionary friends that we’ve stayed in contact with over the past twenty-seven years.
And have a lunch stop with some European colleagues of Randy’s.
Surprises! Often the warm months of summer bring unexpected surprises, we had several of these in the warm days with only one day of rain, in the picnics amidst the pink granite or the city garden, in the unexpected grand accommodations that cost us nothing. We were reminded of how graciously God cares for us in unexpected ways!
Though it is still warm and summer will continue for another month if one goes by the calendar, we know it will come to an end for this year. The weather will change, days will shorten, school will begin and the routines will be back in place. For us we know our experience of summer has been very much determined by our experience of growing up in the northern hemisphere–long days, short nights, hot weather for three months then cooler temperatures. All this will be different in Burundi which sits on the equator so the days are always evenly divided.
We go to Burundi in just three days to work on some organizational pieces of our living/working there. We will return to french classes beginning again and summer will be over but the memories will long continue in our hearts and minds with fresh reminders of the beauty and wonder of God’s goodness.