Le Printemps en Provence

By Kristin Espinasse

Outside my French window I see the end of winter. While the groggy old oak is still leaf bare, the abricotier and the amandier are covered with the blossoms of printemps. The dogwood beside our driveway trembles as a crimson-chested rouge-gorge delights in hopping from branch to branch causing a flurry of pink petals to fall and carpet the earth below with sweet-scented confetti. Joining the fête are the sunshine yellow pissenlit which spread their cheer across the lawn. Further down the lane the fun continues with the tipsy coquelicots now hanging from the stone walls; soon they will cover the fields beyond.


I envy the petaled and feathered fétards who bring the dull countryside to life while I remain sluggish to give up this cozy hibernal shell. At once yearning for le soleil, I cling to the coziness of winter and early evenings spent au coin du feu.


Stepping out of my nest, I see the dwindling tas de bois--only five logs left to burn. A trail of fourmis* leads into the house as if to coax me out of it. The campanile sounds and my thoughts turn to the village where my neighbors are giving up their winter shells: shutters are opening and blankets are airing from the second floor windows; below, the cafés now stretch out over the trottoir* along with an end of winter yawn. And just like a contagious bâillement, so is the merrymakers' excitement for spring which pulls me over to the dogwood and under its shower of pink petal confetti now tickling my toes.

............................. French Vocabulary ............................


un abricotier = apricot tree

un amandier = almond tree

le printemps = spring

le rouge-gorge = robin

la fête = party

le pissenlit = dandelion

le coquelicot = poppy

le fétard = merrymaker

le soleil = sun

au coin du feu = fireside

le tas de bois = woodpile

la fourmis = ant

le trottoir = sidewalk

le bâillement = yawn

 

Kristin Espinasse is the author of "Words in a French Life" . Her blog, French Word-A-Day, began in 2002. She photographs the villages around her wine farm in Provence, where she lives with two Goldens, a Marseillais, and their Franco-American kids.

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