Provence is a lot like California, with over 300 days of sunshine each year. This region was a destination for many impressionist painters who chose to live here for a time because of the light and the scenery.
Long before the artists and lavender farmers showed up , the Romans established many settlements including Arles, where they built a coliseum and an amphitheater. Both still stand, a tribute to Roman ingenuity. Even more amazing, both are still in use. During our visit a concert was taking place in the amphitheater.
A local history expert showed us many of the sites Vincent Van Gough painted during the year or so he spent in Arles. We saw the place where he cut off his ear. We visited the hospital where he was treated. We also saw a café in the town's main square that he painted. The cafe is
still serving expresso.
In spite of his genius, Van Gough was a tortured soul with few friends. He didn't discover paining until he was 27 and only painted for 10 years. During his life he only sold one painting.
Learning about his life made me realize that all of us would benefit if we showed a little more compassion and understanding to those who are struggling to find their place in the world. There are so many people who have hidden talents and abilities yet to be discovered. How do we help them unlock their talents and contribute the special gifts that only they can bring to the world?
A few years ago I came across a short Ted talk TED Talk regarding Autism as an evolutionary advance. It certainly changed the way I thought about autism. Maybe you'll enjoy the video too.