Tonight, we are going to travel to Provence in France. I will be your guide as we venture from our stone cottage and savor the simple joys that the lavender fields of Provence offer.
But before we begin make sure you get yourself comfortable in your bed. Snuggle deep down under your blankets, cosy on up and close your eyes.
Take a few deep breaths. Relax your forehead, cheeks, jaw. Allow your entire body to get heavy and sink into the mattress below you. Breathing in visualise you are breathing in the healing aroma of lavender and breathing out let all the worries of the day simply just melt into the mattress below.
Breathing in visualise you are ontop a gentle hill in provence france. There is a gentle warm breeze that kisses your cheeks and with it – it carries the aroma of lavender.
You shield your eyes from the blazing sun and look out along the endless lavender fields of Provence in France. The time has almost arrived to set out, but first you turn back and look at your quaint stone cottage. Perched on the top of a hill, your charming cottage is shielded from the sun by two giant mediterranean pine trees. Harmonic crickets ring out in symphony from the high branches.
Huge hydrangeas surround the stone structure. The blooms are large and pure white. The flowers resemble clouds and the house seems to float. Vines slowly creep up the side of the stone walls. The cottage looks like it has always been there. It is completely in tune with the natural landscape.
You turn the brass knob of the creaky wooden doorway. Walking inside your country kitchen you breathe a sigh of comfort. As you inhale you take in the scent of freshly cut rosemary that you picked earlier. Inside these stone walls, under the pine trees, everything is cool and comfortable. On the large wooden table there is a large glass of iced tea with fresh mint and lemon. A ray of light pierces through the old shutter and hits the antique crystal glass. Prisms of light scatter along the walls and bounce off old copper pans hanging from the ceiling.
Condensation forms along the side of the glass. Just a moment ago you were in the bright sun but now everything seems so cool and relaxing. As the liquid touches your lips you feel mellow. You look around at all the tin vases, empty jars, and dusty books on French cuisine. Everything in the cottage seems to be marked by the passage of time.
It’s time to collect your things. You gather tubes of oil paint, an array of brushes, and a wooden pallet. You carefully arrange them in a well worn leather satchel. In the corner of the kitchen is a lightweight and portable easel. You grab your favorite linen apron. It is marked with spots of paint. As you run your fingers along the linen you feel a sense of nostalgia and smile.
As the sun changes position light filters through another crack in the shutters. The air seems to sparkle. The changing afternoon light reminds you that it’s time to go. Throwing your satchel over your shoulder and your easel under your arm you set down on the cobblestone path outside your broken wrought iron gate. The well worn path slowly crawls down the side of the hill. On both sides of the path are tall Cypress trees that serve as companions along the way.
After walking for several moments you come across an old stone wall. It has collapsed in several places. You notice a beautiful spotted cat sitting on top of the wall sunbathing. The cat hears you walking towards it and lazily looks at you. It has two piercing blue eyes that seem to read your mind. Having judged your intentions harmless, it yawns and stretches for a moment before resuming its late afternoon nap. Later in the evening the cat will have adventures in the lavender fields, but for now the warm sun on its face is too beautiful to resist.
Further along the path you come to a small stone bridge that crosses a creek in a valley. You decide to sit on the bridge for a moment and listen to the sound of the water rush beneath you. There is a beautiful trickle of water running down the stream. Wild flowers line both sides of the creek and you hear a toad moaning like a deep trombone. Everything here seems to be unbothered by the slow movement of time. The rhythm gives you a sense of comfort and peace.
Sitting on the stone bridge with your eyes closed you listen. Nature’s symphony gives you a deeper connection with the world around you. You could sit here for hours in a state of pure bliss. However after a few minutes more you grab your gear and head off along the winding path towards your destination.
After wandering you find yourself in the middle of large lavender fields. They seem to go on forever. Everywhere you look, purple stripes of lavender seem to disappear along the horizon line. The scent of the small blossoms surround you. There is both a sweetness and earthiness to the perfume. The odor hangs in the air. It is thick and luscious. Bees buzz and work, going from flower to flower spreading pollen and collecting nectar.
Finally you have reached your destination. You stand on top of a small hill looking out at the blanket of purple. You have come to this spot for a specific reason. In the distance you can see your small stone cottage with its tall pine trees. Any minute now the sun will start to set.
You carefully set up your easel and supplies. You take a drink of water from the bottle you filled up at the stream. The perfumed air and the cold water fill you with calm. You take out a small canvas from your satchel and begin to observe the landscape. Slowly you create the drawing that will become your painting. You lay down the horizon line, and then the sloping lines that represent the rows of lavender fields.
Something magical begins to happen in front of your eyes. The sun starts to burn a fiery orange-yellow as it hesitantly reaches the horizon. As this happens, you reach for your yellow ochre paint and begin to mix it on your pallet. This moment is a special dance between you and the landscape in front of you.
The sky begins to change color. There are a couple lazy clouds hanging in the sky. You softly begin to pat your canvas with the appropriate colors. The clouds reflect the lavender fields. Touches of hot pink and purple line the edges of their cotton ball structure. You are completely in sync with the world around you.
Your eyes move from the canvas to the landscape and slowly the difference between the two becomes blurred.
In your creative trance you translate the unfolding purple landscape. You capture the emotion of your surroundings as well. Oil paints seem to melt into one another. They create a painting that is even more alive than the buzzing fields. If it wasn’t for the changing colors you wouldn't notice the passage of time. Painting is a completely meditative experience.
As you come to the end of your painting you put on the final touches. The cottage and its two towering trees glow golden in the distance. A final dab of yellow orange against the violet sky and you know you have captured the magic in front of you. Deep within the painting the lavender blooms, a cat yawns, a toad moans and a creek flows along pebbles.
You step back and look at your painting. Experience has taught you to feel when the painting is finished. You wipe your paintbrush off on your apron. A new spot of paint that represents a new memory. There is nothing left to do other than enjoy the last of the unfolding sunset. The fiery warm tones of yellows, reds, and oranges are slowly replaced by soft blushing pinks and lavenders. A coolness seems to take over the scene as the sky turns a dark purple color. The stars start to twinkle above.
Thousands of fireflies emerge from the lavender fields as the night unfolds. French lamp posts along the cobblestone path come alive with bright orange orbs of light. Your thoughts turn to the great masters that came before you. You understand why artists such as Cezanne, Monet and Van Gogh all found their inspiration from the French countryside.
You pack up your gear and head down the cobblestone street heading towards the cottage. Suddenly you realize you are walking through your painting. Lost in thought, the walk home seems to unfold effortlessly. Back home preparing for bed you feel a sense of completeness and fullness. The night breeze feels cool and the scent of the lavender fields drifts silently through the window as you crawl into bed. Where the aroma of the lavender relaxes your mind and body, inviting you to close your eyes and fall into a deep restorative sleep.