Firstly I have to make one small change to the words Tracie sent me: Rain, Anecdote, Conundrum, Stroll and Ladybug.
The first four are fine but I’m English and I can’t use ladybug. It has to be ladybird or I’ll get dizzy. Ladybugs are, after all, nothing more than American ladybirds. Ha! (Only the English, now I come to think of it, would call a bug a bird.)
So, to start with: rain. By coincidence, just as I looked at the words Tracie sent, it started raining here in Provence. Halleflippinglujah! We haven’t had a spot of rain for weeks and I’d just reluctantly accepted yesterday that today I’d have to lug the long, heavy, yellow hosepipe up into the olive trees and water them before they all die of thirst.
It’s a hard task and it takes time. You have to hoick the pipe up onto the land then leave the water running at the base of each olive tree for ten minutes. Then go back out there and move the pipe onto the next tree. Over and over again. Although it can be a pain, I don’t want an automated system. The land is so beautiful and so natural that it would be a shame to bury plastic pipes all over it. ‘You wouldn’t see them’, my neighbour says. Nope. But I’d know they were there.
So when I read “rain”, selected and sent by Tracie, and heard rain outside the window I was delighted! Often, here, you get a few drops of rain and think great, the trees are going to get watered, and then the rain peters out immediately and you get nothing. Those of you who’ve seen the great films Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, directed by Claude Berri and based on the novels by Marcel Pagnol, will know just what I mean. But last night the rain really fell, for about an hour, and the olive trees got litres and litres of water each. This morning I had a look at them and they’re looking jaunty. The olives are still small but they’ll carry on growing for weeks yet and ripen in November.
So instead of lugging the hosepipe up to them, cursing and getting my legs scratched by the spikey undergrowth, I can sit here with a coffee, writing about rain.
Next is anecdote. Well, I just wrote one. Please see above.
Next is conundrum. People often think of conundrums as riddle-me-ree rhyming-type puzzles. But a conundrum can be any type of brain-teaser or enigma. So for conundrum I direct you here and you’ll see why.
Equally, for stroll, I’m sending you off in this direction. The title will immediately show you why.
And lastly, ladybird. Ladybird just made me think of ladybug and ladybug made me think of firefly. The first time I saw fireflies I was 14 years old and visiting friends in Washington DC. In their garden one baking hot evening I stood alone watching little fireflies glimmering brightly in the dark. I’d lived in Washington till the age of five but had very little recollection of it. This felt like my first visit to the US. I was thrilled by the novelty and excitement of it and what I experienced then as unadulterated glamour. America was a massive, exciting, wide-open land far from the grey drizzle and claustrophobia of England. The fireflies’ lights, blinking gently on and off in the warm air of that dark night, symbolized all that was new to me there, all the things that I was discovering for the first time.
And that’s it – my five words and where they led me. I would just add that the firefly is of course a beetle. Only the Americans could call a beetle a fly.