photo by Michelle Acuff
This is where I am living: where they grow sunflowers and are in love with nuclear power. This plant, Golfech Nuclear Power Plant in La Garonne, is so close that I could see it in the distance from my bicycle as I sped to the local pool. This photo is by one of the artists here, Michelle Acuff, a sculptor with an amazing eye. She went right up to the power plant, something I am not prepared to do, that actually makes me tremble with fear. The proximity of the plant almost stopped me from coming here. In this photo, the centers of the sunflowers look like unblinking eyes staring back at the viewer. Is this the price we must pay for beauty? John, the resident director's husband, says they have a view of them from their window. A different sort of twin towers than the ones I used to see from my apartment in Brooklyn. Why are the French so in love with nuclear energy, which supplies roughly 75% of their energy needs? Where are the solar panels? Wind turbines that I saw all over Spain?
This is also the route for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
And in the town of Auvillar itself, I arrived just as a wedding was ending. . . The bride is in pastel blue (because she is remarrying). And all the wedding guests walked to see the view of the river before leaving in their cars.
I couldn't bear to take a photo of what lay to my hard left: what my fellow/sister artist took in the first photo, she who road right up to the power plant. So here I am, living for a few weeks in the heart of contradiction. Now I understand why, to my ears, the words in French for Love (l'amour) and Death (La Mort) sound almost the same. In fact, over lunch with some locals, I was corrected, having said la mort when I meant l'amour.