All Photos by Author

My partner and I had hoped one late spring to make the 45 DAY pilgrimage through France and Spain along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela but work had kept him too busy. I was spending two weeks in Provence with family so decided to make the 45 MINUTE pilgrimage to Mary Magdalene’s cave (the time it takes from the Hostellerie up the mountain path to the cave) on my own.

I was off on an adventure to La Baume… BY MYSELF!

The legend goes that after Christ’s death, Mary Magdalene, with several others, set sail on a small boat…

Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

Getting kids to eat healthy foods

Many years ago, my niece and nephew visited me from Paris. Forever known to me as My French Babies, they were a teen and tween at the time. As Ed and I are used to our quiet evenings and self-employed, make-your-own-schedule days, it made life just a bit more hectic though always fun and interesting.

She, the tween, made it her mission in life to be as helpful as possible: watering flowers and vegetables in the yard, cooking in the kitchen with me, setting the table and helping clean up. Even while watching TV…

Palamidi and Old Town Doorway in Nafplio (Photo by author)

On a short trip to our favorite Greek town, a small tourist village on a bay in the Peloponnese known as Nafplion, my partner and I (whom I’ve nicknamed The Chef, he being the better cook) walk the open-air market of hardy but exquisite produce and sad fish eyes gleaming in the morning sun. Traversing lines of heaped tables, we revel in brightly-colored blankets, lace tablecloths and pretty cloth napkins. Shockingly beautiful mottled-red and green snap beans sit like a weaver’s artwork amidst the mounds and vibrant colors of fresh lemons and oranges from nearby orchards.

At the end of…

Photo by Gregory Culmer on Unsplash

I’m being haunted by a house, an old farmhouse in the Pacific Northwest. It’s long gone now, burned in a fire many years ago, Mom told me. I spent only a few months there in the fall of 1973. We shared room and board with a kind young man. I remember his first name but his face and last name have evaporated along with the shimmering wonder of late evening stars country living must have afforded. Gone also are the names and faces of the neighbors who occupied the house only steps away from us on the same property. …

La Baume in Provence (Photo by author)

Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Unsplash

And the benefits you didn’t know about.

Japanese Garden, San Francisco (Photo by author)

When I first started meditating, I had all the usual frustrations and disciplinary difficulties most people do: Lack of focus. Crazy monkey mind. Anger at myself for my perceived lack of self-control. It wasn’t until I read a book by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, that I realized I didn’t have to feel such frustration each time my mind wandered and thoughts carried me away. …

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France (Photo by author)

I tried meditation on and off for years without great consistency and, therefore, much benefit. Though there was that early experience when I first started out at about 20 when I believe my body and spirit began to separate. I could simultaneously feel the sensation of my body growing extremely heavy but another part becoming lighter and lighter, as if my consciousness was leaving my body. I was so terrified I stopped it and slammed myself back together. I’ve had little success making it happen again. …

Kirsten Steen

Writer, Traveler, For-fun Photographer, Blogger (mostly on Paris). Shorts published in Gemini Magazine & Cascadia Rising Review.

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