Friday, March 6, 2009

Saint Colette

open letter to my sister on her 29th birthday

Dear Brooke,

Did you know that in this very Catholic country, every single day is named for a saint, this one for Saint Colette. She died on this day in 1447 after devoting her life to reforming the "Poor Clares," a group of poverty stricken and apparently wayward nuns who founded Palm Sunday in 1212. I guess they weren't poor enough for Sainte Colette's liking because--according to Wikipedia--she prescribed more "extreme poverty," bare feet, "the observance of perpetual fast, and abstinence" in an attempt to purify their poor souls.

I, of course, prefer a more modern Colette and so am celebrating this day in her honor and yours. She has a lot to say about women and aging... if you haven't cracked her book of short stories yet ;) Thus begins your thirtieth year and an altogether different decade than the last. You're going out in quite a blaze of glory... a gorgeous new baby and a happy home, a career that promises all of the things our parents always wanted for us, and a persistent beauty fanned by your kindness and grace. I wish you all the self assurance and adventure that these older and wiser years can bring.

I've just come from a long walk all over town... to some of the places we visited when you were here in '05, places I know you love: Along the Seine to the Ile St. Louis, Notre Dame, then back west to Tuileries and the Louvre. There were a few magic moments, as usual... like when a nun came speeding though the swinging park gate at Notre Dame at ten to eight, pushing it open with her front bicycle tire, and when the gardener at Tuileries mistook me for a Russian then wanted to chat with me about movies stars when he found out I was from California, and when a woman found a wedding band at my feet as I was headed for the Pont des Arts and offered it to me for good luck... she tried to insist, but I told her to keep it, that I was never getting married. Then three other women in the next block tried the same scam on me... same exact gold band... probably not even real! Ok, so that wasn't magic after all! Unfortunately these are not the things I caught on film today.

I sure wish you were here now, or that I were there. Instead, this little video will have to do.

I'm thinking of you and hoping you, too, have a wonderful day. Thank you for being my reason...


1 comment:

Brooke said... are so sweet! A blog, for me? And a video, too? I'm touched...and a little teary-eyed, to be honest. That second paragraph got to me. What a nice thing to read the morning after my birthday. You make me feel very special. Thank you. I love you, too!
By the way, the tulips are lovely. Red and yellow. They are on my dresser. A big hug and kiss to both you and Mohamed...and Filou!