lundi 1 juin 2009


I've been dying to be able to say that.

Can you see it?

There, at the edge of the shadow of the rock, at seven o'clock from the white speck. Double-click to enlarge the photo, then hit your back arrow to return.

Did you see it?

They have only just hatched. One is larger. Several days old. I had been waiting since we emptied the fish-pond-in-a-fountain to repair the leak that caused the death of nearly all of our 50 goldfish during a terrible freeze, worried to death (me) that the surviving fish and the frogs would not find it to their liking, first being forcibly removed, then being reinserted into their old environment, to see if everyone would settle in and make babies again. I wasn't expecting to see the fry, even if I had been looking for them, and hoping.

It was a moment of pure joy, until I went to the computer to download my pictures of the babies and saw the New York Times News Alert: Air France Flight From Brazil to Paris Is Missing With 228 on Board, Air France Said.

The moment was gone.

I walked back to Audouin, home on this holiday -- lundi Pentecote, a day off, just like the Monday following Easter; old Catholic habits die hard in an old Catholic country turned secular --, at the fish basin with no joy, just the skin on my face tight and cold. A flight with 228 people on board, Rio to Paris. It could be any flight with anyone's family members on board, any day. Since 8 am, they have been collecting those arriving to greet their friends and family, and taking them to a special room, with psychologists and doctors to help them cope, to wait news of the flight, lost over the Atlantic. We slept; we lay and watched the morning sunshine in the tree out the window; we found the fry in the fish basin and rejoiced, as they learned they had no reason now to do the same.

I could hear the neighbor's rotating sander, out doing something with the Jeep. If he was there, he 4 year old son was nearby. I grabbed my cup of coffee and hurried out the gate, as though the fry were going to disappear in the next 5 minutes if I took my time. His wife came, too, the baby in her arms, protesting that she was still in her pyjamas.

"Ca va comme ça," said her husband before I got a chance to say it. It's a tiny village. As long as you're covered, it's all good.

"Il y a des grenouilles, aussi?" asked the little one.

"Oui, il y a des grenouilles. Tu veux les voir?" He nodded. He wanted to see the frogs. They are only slightly more interesting than the newly hatched fry, resting on the clumps of reed roots in the shallow water under the sun. The larger frogs wait until we have cleared the area before they take their chances and come out to sun bathe.

In our world, there is new fish life and irises opening in the brilliant light.

In another, only a short distance away, others prepare themselves for the news that is inevitable now that the plane never did arrive, the radar never did find it.

Only yesterday I talked with my step-daughter about death. She is afraid of it, like I am. "Eve
ry day,"I said, out in the parking lot before we went in to pick out more goldfish and Shunbunkin (they didn't have any small ones, we got 4 Comets and 2 Karp Koi), "people are joyful because a baby is born, and every day others are sad because a loved one dies. Both," I said, fully aware of the incredible banality of what I was pronouncing, "are part of life. We have to accept the one like we look forward to the other, but live for the joy of the moment, without fear."

She doesn't know yet that 228 people have died on an Airbus 330 over the Atlantic. I prefer not to be the one to tell her.

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