La Veuve

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. 

8am, June, Nice, France

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. 

About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
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15 Responses to La Veuve

  1. wagonerdavid says:

    This is one of your best posts, touching and evocative. In the sea at 7 in the morning is impressive as well.

    David Wagoner


  2. cichand says:

    What a beautiful post Kathleen. It’s haunting yet there is a calm beauty in your words. I’m sorry to hear about your summer travel plans that you were so looking forward to. I hope Greece is still on your radar. We are going up to the Hockney exhibit Friday with Terry and Charlie. I’ve wanted to see what he has been doing with his iPad painting from Normandy.

    Looking forward to our lunch together on Monday at Les Jardins du Capital…inside at 12:30. I finished your book, The Vanishing Half, excellent 👌, and will bring it Monday. Bonne semaine. Cicely

    Cicely Hand 07 67 40 09 24


  3. Laurinda says:

    Such a wonderful description of you floating on the Mediterranean and a great photo. It was a pleasure to read your post this morning. Sending hope for a cool breeze.

  4. Jane Baars says:

    Heartbreakingly beautiful post.
    I wish you strength on this part of your journey.

  5. Ted Wolf says:

    Happy to think of you floating on gentle swells off the Promenade des Anglais in the soft light of early morning. I think the “new experiences are restorative” advice is very sound, and will hold onto that thought!

  6. Karen McKay says:

    There is a heaviness as we go into the summer. What else will the Supreme Court take away from us? What will come of the Jan. 6th hearings? If anything? How bad will the fires be this summer? Swimming in the Mediterranean, paddle boarding in the Salish Sea, helping our families as we can – we find what can to help us through.

  7. Anne Rosen says:

    Isn’t the sea COLD at 7 A.M??? You are brave!!



  8. Betsy Tenenbaum says:

    The photo has a soothing rhythm–the tents, the roof lines, the clouds, and the buoys, all parallel. This in deep contrast to the unruly cloud burst on the upper left. So dynamic. And you captured it, Kathleen. What a morning!


  9. Kay Irwin says:

    I am so sorry to hear about David’s passing. Each morning I walk by your house in our neighborhood and can recall him showing me the Seven Dee’s plan of which plants to select and place for the best effect. Well done! Everything continues to thrive and live on.
    I miss our neighborly visits, walks and book discussions. Kay

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