Sunday, July 12, 2009

Curtains of Rain / Jour de Pluie

Rain puddle

Yesterday was a rainy, melancholy day. When I woke up at 8 A.M., the sky was dark as night; the clouds were brewing with a violent storm - and what a storm it was, buckets of water! The rain started to make its way in the apartment as my windows were opened, I regretfully shut them - as I enjoy the smell of rain a lot- it then kept on hitting sharply against the window panes. Curtains of rain.

Hokusai, Katsushika: "The wave", c.1830

Through the windows, I could see the rain pouring down and form big puddles, or shall I say pools, as it was flooding the neighbour's backyard. I decided it was a wonderful morning to sit down and relax, write or read and listen to music...

My pile of books, CDs and DVD for the rainy day

Nice! I first listened to Peruvian salsa to wake up in good shape with Eva Ayllon, then I cooled down a bit with The Clientele and their Suburban Light album, and went for a mix of classical and tropical music of my choice with The Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (a recently-bought vinyl found at a book sale for $5!) and the amazing Dr Buzzard's original "Savannah" Band album (full of gold nuggets like Cherchez la Femme and... Sunshower, how appropriate!).

Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, released in 1976
As for my reading list, it included pages of : one of my reference cookbooks, Beyond Nose to Tail (Fergus Henderson & Justin Piers Gellatly), The World of Interiors magazine (June issue), Carlo Scarpa: Architect - Intervening with History (CCA , The Monacelli Press), "Venise - Cartoville" (Guide Gallimard, France), and Pinnochio by Collodi - but, wait a minute, writing about it now, I clearly see that there is an obvious leading thread here: Italy. That must be because I am travelling to Venice in September...
Carlo Scarpa, detail, Olivetti Showroom, Piazza S. Marco, Venice, 1957-58

Well, any pretext to stay in was good then and as I was on my own, my fiancé being away in Montréal for the weekend, I walked through the hallways of my inner self to look for a source of bright light. I literally felt like a frog in Toronto and I liked it!
All of a sudden, an image came back to the bubbling surface of my mind; I saw my sister and I, in the country, on our after-the-rain ritual expedition. We would invariably go out and breathe the air after a heavy shower in the summer or the fall. With our rubber boots on, we were ready to marvel at the colourful spirals hidden in the bushes along the roads of my parents' village... Along the way, we would open wide our nostrils to take in this very unique and earthy smell of nature after the rain (smell that varies but that can be enjoyed right before, during and after the rain!). The game was to count up the snails and mentally classify them in colour-coded categories; the pink ones and the yellow and black ones were our favourites.

Escargot jaune, escargot rose et escargot blanc à spirale noire

To tell you the truth, we were not interested that much in the big brown snails, far too common, and also we would see them on our plates when, occasionally, we would eat a dish of Escargots de Bourgogne...
Helix Pomatia, Escargot de Bourgogne
Mousse d'escargots

Thinking of snails, here is a souvenir from Lyon, where there are many instances of breathtaking spiral Renaissance stairs.

Spiral Renaissance stairs, at 52 Rue Saint-Jean, Lyon
The rain stopped in the afternoon and the sky cleared up as if nothing had happened. At 5 P.M. I decided to go out for a walk and, guess what, it may sound trivial but I went for a pedicure. I ended up with a beautifully irised shade of pink nail polish (called Privacy, Please by O.P.I) on my toes! I came back home and watched Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix with my feet up. From snails to nails, or the story of a rainy day.
Today, Sunday, is a very sunny day and my Jules (French expression for my man) is coming back from Montréal before the sun sets - Every cloud has a silver lining! Après la pluie, le beau temps.

Cynthia Hawkins and Jules in Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix

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