Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beau temps!

Five crocuses: four purple and one yellow. These blinked anew from the front garden today, the day we landed on Mt. Ararat after the flood and took a look around, temperature in the sixties, a little wearing of the green in the grass, and song sparrows counting out their bright change in pennywhistle and harmonica. Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Leave it to the French. They have the same word for time and weather: temps. Good times: bon temps! Good weather: beau temps!

Actually, the French have two words for time: temps and l'heure, the hour. But that's interesting, too. Because if I read my Larousse correctly, l'heure seems to be more about measured time, timely time. And temps is more about time in the abstract, time as a vessel.

Phrases using heure: to be paid on time; the latest news; overtime; what time is it?; to arrive on time; for the time being; there was a time when; to do something at once.

Phrases using temps: to kill time; to have plenty of time; to gain time; now and then; to have a good time (let the good times roll!); meanwhile; in the old days; there is a time for everything.

I mean, there are overlaps, but generally, I'd rather live according to le temps than l'heure.

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As for St. Patrick's Day, all I can say is what I said about forty years ago when McKenna, McQueen, and I went down to New York to stand on 5th Avenue near the park, maybe with a beer in a glove, if that's possible, or a hat, watching phalanx after phalanx of dapper Irish-American ladies march by proudly hoisting their banner proclaiming the Ancient Order of Hibernians, while I yelled to them encouragingly, "God bless ye, Hibernians!" and they waved and smiled back, so I yelled it again and maybe what started out facetious became sincerely happy to be participating in the St. Patrick's Day parade and to be 21 and an idiot but a harmless one.

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