Monday, April 14, 2008

On anchors and roots

Saturday was a strange day. More of the those ridiculous spring showers (of rain or hail depending on the mood of the skies) that come out of a cold nowhere and don't feel like spring at all. By 11:00 my house was oddly calm, the children had left for Nantes to stay for a week (school vacation again) and I had the whole day to do nothing or anything.

I spent most of the afternoon at La Maison... (anciennement La Maison Renaise), my favorite café/salon de thé. I lounged about and drank warm beverages and spoke with very interesting people. And one of the things we talked about was Laval. We talked about how this peculiar little city leaves its non-native residents, foreign or otherwise, feeling neither enracinés nor ancrés. Neither anchored nor rooted here. A woman I spoke with said that, after 21 years of living here, she still feels like we grow here like hot-house tomatoes, not the real ones that grow in ground. Despite friends and children and jobs and homes and cafés and all those other things that make you feel like you belong somewhere.

I haven't lived in that many places, only 8, and for lengths of time varying from 3 months to 16 years. But of those 8, this is the only one that has slipped through my fingers.

We agreed that it was not necessarily a bad thing. Like being a foreigner, being rootless and anchorless allows for a certain amount of detachment and, for me, freedom. I am a guest here, both privileged and limited.

4 comments:

beth said...

People only dream of being a guest in a city in France - but I understand what you feel - I think a lot of people feel the same

Nicole said...

Beth - they should be dreaming about living where you live - a lot less rain!

beth said...

Maybe less rain - but insane real estate prices!!

Nicole said...

Beth - everything has a price and apparently great weather has a very high one...