The Joys of Travel and Life: Afternoon Rain

Figueroa Plaza by Michelle Evans

blog by Ken McAlpine

Welcome to our weekly blog about the joys of travel and life. For the two are one. Travel, like life, is about making the most of our moments, for we only have so many. With that in mind, another moment together. Thank you for coming along for the ride…

Afternoon Rain

You can go to Paris. I recommend it highly, for it is a remarkable city with its indelible stamp, and critical mass of culture, and the waiters are not as rude as everyone claims.

But if you were to travel to France, I would recommend a trip to Cuiseaux even more, for it is a small village nearly lost in the Burgundy foothills, and so one of the finest places in the world to learn one of this world’s simplest lessons. I would also highly recommend you bring someone to Cuiseaux with you, for the credo of Cuiseaux, as you will shortly see, is only enhanced by the presence of someone special. I brought my lover, who also happens to be my wife.

When we returned from Cuiseaux, an acquaintance asked what we did there. I told her that in the morning we walked from the apartment, strolling twenty yards to Boulangerie Nico, where we admired, and liberally sampled, the army of bread, croissants, and pastries baked daily by Nicolas and arranged by his wife Marina. At all times of day, I said, we wandered the narrow cobblestone streets, eavesdropping on strains of conversation drifting from windows (for this is a fine way to refresh your limited high school French). I told her that in the evening, Kathy and I sat quietly on the apartment’s front stoop and watched shadows creep down the stone-walled church as sparrows dropped from the eaves. Once, I said, at noon, we sat on the same stoop and watched a lone butterfly negotiate the empty town square. When it rained in the afternoon, as it often did, my lover and I listened to the cobblestone patterings from bed. I did not mention this last activity to my questioner, for she was only an acquaintance.

When I finished, I saw the disappointment on her face.

“That doesn’t sound like much,” she said. “Weren’t there art museums, or movies, or shops to go to?”

Yes, and no. But I knew that, in a world often on the full-bore go, my questioner already saw this conversation as wasted time too.

“Not really,” I said.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell said, The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Perhaps this is why, right now, when I close my eyes, I hear afternoon rain pattering on cobblestones.

Ken McAlpine has traveled the world as a writer, from the depths of Palau to the heights of the Andes, but no matter where he goes, he can’t wait to come home to Ventura. We hope his stories remind you of why you love the place you call home, and this gift called life. For more info, please go to www.kenmcalpine.com.

Top image by Michelle Evans.

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