This particular corner of the sky is the one I could see an hour ago from my reclining position in the shade of a tree beside a week-old swimming pool in Provence. It is, therefore, one of my favorite corners of sky.
Tomorrow, as it happens, is my birthday. I find myself a little astonished that on that annual opportunity to take stock of one's life, I will wake up in the south of France in the new [old] house of someone I love who, rather unexpectedly, has been my friend for nearly 20 years.
On the downside, yes, I have been bitten by several mysterious insects who speak only French with an indecipherable southern accent and thus cannot be reasoned with. But I've also had ice cream (deux boules: framboise pêche) in the plaza in La Garde-Adhémar, a town that, before today, I did not know existed. It is so hot in the afternoon that the ice cream begins to melt the second it hits the bowl, but it is no less delicious for that and you are rich in the knowledge that the pool is waiting at home.
Now, looking out my bedroom window, I see one tanned foot protruding from the hammock that my friend has only just succeeded in hanging (challenging stone wall) and into which he has promptly installed himself in the welcome evening breeze. There is music playing. There is always music playing and it is unfailingly beautiful. On est bien, là.
In short, on this birthday eve, I'm going on record to say: I am awash with good fortune. And unutterably grateful.