We were three weeks into the new year and I was confident the January blues was not going to get me down. But then the weather stayed cold and dreary, we suffered the usual renovation setbacks, and on top of it all, we had a tax inspection to look forward to. Humorous and well-meant advice of the locals only made me feel more unpleasant and fearful. Surely threatening a lawsuit from the outset or throwing the poor tax master in an oubliette on our estate was not going to help.
However tempting, I never allow myself to dwell on the negative and become angry or resentful. I just have a good, hard cry, preferably in front of a trusted audience. Not a man to be fazed by overly dramatic tears (his mom was an opera singer), Thomas always obliges with a hug and sympathetic sounds.
Next, I seek out the quiet. This often starts out a bit uncomfortable, but I’ve learned discomfort is necessary to invite a new perspective on overwhelming situations. I go for a walk through the fields and in the woods. I breathe. I drift. The sun puts in a brief appearance. Despite the winter, there is lots of green. Dark ivy, boxwood, luminous moss, chartreuse coloured lichen and beautiful hellebore. And when you see something green you know there’s life energy, right? Renewal and growth, even in dark times. I’m enjoying this solitary hike, the green helps me to rediscover harmony and my usual peace of mind. I return to the house, ready to simply find joy where I am. Yes, even in the presence of the much-dreaded inspecteur des impôts.