Hello all, I just wanted to let you know I made it back home safely last night. I had no trouble from the hurricane, and in fact I’m wondering why it is not raining outside now, on Sunday morning. The storm must have turned to the east. I don’t know, because I haven’t checked the news yet. Coffee and confiture is the most important thing this morning. (And if you are one of those Orthodox tsk-tskers who is keeping score, no, I’m not going to communion this morning, so I’m not breaking the communion fast.)

I had breakfast with Maman — two mamans, actually: la maman de Clémence and la maman de Philippe. Both French mamans sent me back to the US with homemade confiture. Clémence’s maman gave homemade confiture de poires (pear jam), and Philippe’s gave homemade confiture abricot (apricot jam). Gifts of love, from the heart of two French kitchens.

For breakfast, I had a piece of toast with the pear, and a piece with the apricot. Both pieces were slathered in Normandy Brittany butter with sea salt crystals in them. Remember, I am a sacramental Christian, so for me, toast with butter and confiture is not just toast with butter and confiture. It is an icon into the love and care of the women who prepared it, and beyond them, to the gifts of God in the earth and its bounty, and beyond that to an encounter with God Himself. That’s a lot of metaphysical weight for toast and jelly to bear, but I really do believe that (watch the film Babette’s Feast if you want to understand this better). This morning, I am sitting in my living room in Baton Rouge, exhausted from my travels and a whirlwind week of work, but full of France in the form of butter, jam, and good memories of wonderful people. La vie est belle. 

It is my hobbit nature, I think, that all it takes to bring me to this state of fundamental agreement with Being is a bit of butter and jam on bread. Maybe that makes me a trivial person. OK, I’m a trivial person. But I’m a happy old hobbit in my shire.