Sleeping in Paradise


Such a beautiful image in words from my daughter Dana Ecelberger


It is June in the Black Mountains of France, in the Tarn District, in the heart of this very passionate country. The skies are very emotional at this time of year, especially this year. Everywhere I look nature responds to the pull of life’s longing. Grass grows as you watch, trees are unfurling their neon leaves, the peony unfolds petal after petal in a reckless fervor. Bees are drunk on nectar; they weave and careen under the heavy load of pollen they carry. Lambs cry across the hillside, “Moommm. Mooommmm.”


I sleep in the warm embrace of Toti Bleu. She sits delicately in the backyard, between the chickens and the two black sheep. There is a palpable calm inside the colorful arches of her ribs, shoulders and back. As I climb into the cave of a bed, it is like entering a womb. Here I sleep as I never sleep in my life in America. The hooting owl, the mewling doves, even the awful craw of the peacock high in the Maple tree, these sounds lull me to sleep. The unbroken black of night so profound here that I forget to worry. I close my eyes and it is as if I cease to exist, as if I join the deep, still night in a seamless absence of definition.


Morning comes early. Like a Satie piece, the birds start slowly and quietly to discuss the day. “Where are you? Did you survive the night? Shall we meet at the feeder? Isn’t the coming of dawn a miracle today? Every day?” The sound builds and is quickly a cacophony of trills, whistles, chirps and chips. Now the lambs join in with their bleating and calling. The peacocks, from their high perch, sound the alarm. The shepherd has arrived to lead the sheep to pasture. Suzanne goes out to feed Vanille. Mark is here to feed Pivoine and to release the chickens from the coop. The dog, Bella, barks at Beau, the cat. The day begins. Gently, but insistently.


I cling to this moment of peace. Savoring the golden glow inside Toti. Let my eyes wander over the flowers and curlicues my mother has so artistically painted onto every surface, marveling again at her inexhaustible creativity. Snuggled down, three quilts deep, I am as happy as I have ever been. Safe inside my mother’s beautiful dream.



About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
This entry was posted in Art, attelage, barefoot draft horse, Community, Comtois horse, Gypsy wagon decoration, Gypsy wagon/Roulotte construction technique, Horse drawn vehicles, Lifestyle, Roulotte, Small living spaces, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sleeping in Paradise

  1. N2 says:

    What a wonderful description of your time in Toti, Dana! So glad to get to see you up there with Dear Suzanne. Bisous, N2

  2. Nicole Lemaitre says:

    Exquisite words. Dana had me right there in ‘her mother’s womb’, senses heightened to the beauty of being alive . Thank you for sharing dear Suzanne xxxx

  3. myra1055 says:

    I have tears.Beautiful words, Dana. Such a lovely tribute to Spring and your amazing mother! So poetically written.

  4. Bruno says:

    Beautiful words…

  5. Carol Wilkins says:

    Dana is a gifted writer, you are a lucky mother!

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