Vieux Volets

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Oh, yes. I remember. As if in the dream sequence cliché of a B-movie, Thomas threw open the worn shutters, casting sun on the stained walls, and saw the most amazing view of the village with its scenic backdrop of rough hills. On cue, whispers filled my ears, the house praying, most compellingly, that we would free it from a dark spell and breathe new life into its old bones. Three years have gone by and the shutters still put across the house’s pride in the past and its longing for the future.

I’ll be tired and irritated, scrubbing my fingers to the bone to get rid of ancient stains left by a hornet’s nest, when one of the shutters draws my eyes to the scenery outside. A painting framed by the worm-eaten windows, reminding me to stay grateful for the mesmerizing beauty I live in. Or I’ll mindlessly air out a dusty African cloth and worn with the sun-faded red of the shutters, the house carries it like regal attire, lest I forget I’m working for nobility. On countless occasions, I am treated to a magic lantern spectacle, when the sun and shutters conspire to use the woodpecker holes to sprinkle orbs of light on the walls. Gone then are my worries and frustrations, all that matters is basking in the beauty of being in the moment.

We carry out the most urgent reparations to the shutters, but steadfastly ignore advice to replace them altogether. How could we? When we know how they have hugged the house in times of enchantment. Have protected it against the elements. How could we? When the bleached wood shows us that the passing of time can be kind. That, as our technicolour tones fade, the patina of age makes us wiser and more beautiful.


  1. Beautifully imaginative and descriptive writing with breath-taking style, just like the author 🙂 Brings everything to life – and allows us to appreciate the beauty of decay.

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