Today Gabe is wearing a black jacket, a grey t-shirt, red shorts, white socks, and his outdoor slippers.
Even though I am technically on vacation, I’ve also spent some time in France working. In between chasing the sheep by day and eating too much bread and blue cheese by night, I’ve been putting in fairly long days trying to get a new project ready (after losing several days to jet lag) while also making time for family hangouts and general relaxation.
[ps. if you are interested in this new project I’m working on, did you know popforms has a launch list you can sign up for? it’s an inside look at the buildout of our little startup, with emails maybe once every 2 weeks. and it’s where we’ll announce the launch of *leadership sparks* — my latest project — a set of goal-based courses designed to help you be better at your job and life in general.]
But yesterday, during another one of these very long days I’ve been having — I hit a wall. As an introvert, being social and around lots of people drains my energy and superpowers. So when I run out of steam like I did yesterday, I just need to be alone with a good book or a podcast, or better yet, just some run-of-the-mill quiet contemplation.
But yesterday, that was not an option. There was a lunch (a French lunch, a 3 hour lunch), and friends from out of town, and a jazz concert, and a huge village party where everyone gets drunk and lights a giant wooden key on fire.
So instead of curling up quietly to recharge all day, I found standing myself out in the middle of a field at midnight, 15 feet from a blazing fire, surrounded by village children setting off firecrackers and village teens smoking cigarettes and looking disaffected.
And in the end, it was pretty cool. Before the fire, there was an epic drum performance by residents of a local hospital for the mentally ill. They beat on snare drums and bass drums and pots and pans while their leader tweeted out a staccato rhythm on a gym-teacher whistle, and together they created a super invigorating beat that no one in the crowd could ignore.
That performance was followed by fireworks; fireworks shot so dangerously nearby and low to the ground, that it felt like you could reach out and touch them every time they went up. I actually ducked when most of the big ones went off, so close did they seem to be.
And then the fire. A giant wooden key, that’s been sitting conspiciously in a field since I got here, was set ablaze and the whole village gathered around to watch it burn. It was a burst of hot air at the end of a cold, rainy day — and it was quite a sight to see.
And so ended a long day where all I wanted was to be alone — but it turned out to be worth sacrificing the alone time.
But today, I am taking a break. I’m working quietly, and I’m taking a walk.
Just outside the property line, on the other side of the fence where the sheep tend to graze, there’s a very old church Gabe and I explored a couple of days ago. There are tombs in the floor and crumbly old statues line the walls.
Oh, and there are sheep too. I think I’ll go spend some time with them today.