Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 9: Beyond the Palisade

 Wall, fence, enclosure, stockade, barrier, curtain, screen, bullwork, bastile, moat, railing, rampart, trench, ditch, barricade. What are walls for?  To keep things in and keep things out. This week's book-of-the-week, titled Beyond the Palisade is about what's on the other side of the walls we construct within ourselves.
Leather and silk and a photograph of a window grill in Angers, France
palisade is a word from the French 1600's and refers to a wall of stakes set firmly in the ground as a defense. The cut paper images of windows and stairways in the foreground of this little book act as a barrier to the patchwork imagery of photographs taken during my first trip to France. Personally, I suspect I had built my own palisade of reasons for not taking this wonderful trip. Luckily, an opportunity occurred and in 2005 I found myself in this beautiful and complex country.

Behind the cut paper are photographs of churches, government buildings and castles...
Known for the marked beauty in architecture and artistry, France's history of conflict in politics and religion is a contrast worthy of a palisade. Quaint French villages of hundred-years old cottages, chateaux and open-air vegetable markets; tiny streets of cobblestone that wind and twist... the aroma of croissants and lavendar... and French milled soap in every Super U! a tourist, I was oblivious to the social tensions and daily challenges. The only thing missing was a standard size cup of coffee.
In the villages life goes on behind hand-tatted lace curtains
A beautiful country of mild climate and excellent agriculturists... each turn revealed another beautiful flower garden.. another sweetly lowing bovine... another community of industry and artistry. The year-long dry spell and environmental legal challenges did not affect a tourist's preoccupation with the TGV, rural maps,  signposts and beautiful vistas.

A lone windmill grinds wheat.. used to make crepes in the restaurant next door.
Whether walls are built to keep things in or to keep things out, a palisade can be breeched... a curtain can be pulled aside, a window can be raised, a door can be opened, a room can be entered. All it takes is the opportunity... and courage to go Beyond the Palisade.