For the first time in my life in Nice, I am swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. A student of the human brain told me that entirely new experiences are restorative to a psychological upset. Perhaps she is right. In any case, what an excellent start to any summer day.
Most days I wake early and I am treading water by 7:00am. For 30 or 40 minutes, I float on the gentle swells and gaze on the horizon, at the faint, hazy outlines of yachts and ferries. At this time of day, there are only a few other people in the water, and a smattering are setting up chairs and umbrellas on the beach for the morning. The mind has space to roam.
When I return home, where I now live alone, I enact my strategy to stay cool. Shades come down, windows are shut, fans begin circulating air, salads are prepared to avoid the heat of the stove. Often that’s it for the day. I don’t venture out again.
Most of my summer travel plans have been aborted for one reason or another, and I can’t be bothered to make more. Have you heard of the airport chaos this summer? So the morning swim is likely to be the highlight of the season.
Sometimes I look at my iPhone videos of David, and peruse our family photo albums, but that never lasts long. Mostly I watch the TV series du jour, chat over Zoom and WhatsApp with friends and attend to my list of things to do around home.
Thankfully, there’s always something that needs my attention. My shabby chic apartment is beautiful but run down and things regularly fall apart. Then, for a while, I was buried under paperwork dealing with estate and succession. My foreign status often needs attention. Last week, I spent one long afternoon preparing my annual application for my visitor visa renewal, checkmarking my new marital status, “Veuve.”
So, the next few months will entail making plans, such as fate, Putin and health will allow, for many changes of scene in 2023.