l’avenir, the future


Today begins a shift, a shift away from a summer of discover and adventure and a return to my wonderful hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. It is a city I came to because I had a brother in school there. My visit turned into an extended stay—almost three decades worth.

I always thought I would leave, head abroad or head up north, but something pulled at me to remain. That something I have always advocated as being the people. Our swath of blue in a rather red state is made up of open minded and caring people which make our community something more than a home, it makes it a place to grow. I guess that’s what I’ve done while in Greensboro…I’ve grown.

I have grown while being away too—and not just because of the baguettes! I have met new people and places and I’ve had time to consider old questions. Like the question which I get asked quite often: What’s next?

More often than not, I feel guilty not having this answer. I feel I am somehow cheating the person asking and being coy with myself by not having a concrete answer. But then something happens, like meeting Alex and Yoko in Normandy last month and keeping up with them in the last few weeks, only to spend my final days in France with them at their inn in Fountaine Sous Jouy. They are both artists turned innkeepers. They are kind and thoughtful and ready for deep discussions and bantering debates.

On my first day with them, Yoko and I took a walk on the path that runs through their village and out to the forests. We talked of the changes she and Alex have made in their life and how they found their way from Paris to Normandy. They were out looking for land to build their house when they came upon a farm being sold. The street leading up to the farm was named l’Avenir. In French, this means the future.

Yoko tells me that she knew right then, this land was where they would build their inn. It is beautiful with rolling hills in the distance and cherry, apricot, apple, Birch and Willow trees surrounding their abode. She said even though they were taking a big risk with such a project, she felt secure. She felt they would be able to handle the struggles, worries, and challenges. She and Alex were creating their future.

On our last evening together, Alex—who speaks four languages, chooses his words thoughtfully. He sees life as a means to be surprised, welcoming what is around the next curve—whatever that might be. He went on to share another nugget of wisdom.
“Life too,” he said, “gives us limits and we have to live within them. We can chose to think of it as a prison or place full of possibility.”

Perhaps this is a place where balance exists—excelling within my limits, but being open to the next thing, both allowing a belief in l’avenir.


  1. Jean Moxley says:

    Wow! Not only has your life expanded, so has your writing. Easy on and challenging to the mind at the same time. Can’t beat it. I so look forward to having some talk time when you return but no pressure and no rush. Hugs and traveling mercies.

  2. Lori says:

    Come on home Ann! We miss you and look anxiously forward to your return


  3. Nancy Micca says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing journey with us! We are so lucky to have you here in Greensboro! Welcome Home!

  4. patrick says:

    really got a lot out of this one, ann, considering my change of venue.

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