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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