these are little bundles of vine stems that get tied together, and placed inside the wine vats during the fermentation process. they are positioned right behind the faucet that lets you drain the liquid from the vat. without these twigs as a filter, the grape skins would clog the faucet, and you couldn’t drain the vat. when they are removed they are stained with red wine, and smell like fermented grape must. there was a pile of them in the corner of the balliccioni winery after the vendange was over this year. “do you want those?” asked véronique. “you can use them for grilling and they give off a scented smoke.” not even steve’s french was good enough to express just how much, indeed, we wanted them.
grape vine trimmings
have you ever read a better description of that urge to flee somewhere beautiful, where the cares of the world don’t exist: “see the ships sleeping on the canals, in a vagabond mood. they have come from the ends of the earth to satisfy your least desire. setting suns cover the fields, the canals, the whole city, with hyacinth and gold . . . there all is order and beauty, calm, luxuriousness, and exquisite delight.” -Baudelaire, L’Invitation au Voyage.
sometimes i work too hard to interpret what nature is trying to say in my images. sometimes, she says all that needs to be said. this little branch says eucalyptus from its tip to its base. in person, if you hold it under your nose, it is even more eloquent.
cessenon-sur-orb, languedoc, france
this is my favorite attitude toward life. curl up into the fetal position like you’re wounded. and then slip in the knife of passive aggressive resentment. (by the way, this is not actually my favorite attitude toward life. it is my least favorite.)
unidentified thorned leaf
even though we have had some nice mild (i.e. windless) weather here in southern france, i have not gotten out into the garrigue much the last few days. the reason is because i have fallen down a rabbit hole. don’t worry, i didn’t get hurt. nothing is broken. i have tried my hand at collage many times over the years with only moderate success. but a few days ago, i tried yet one more time. and i’ll be damned if it didn’t work. i’m loving doing it, and as importantly, liking the results. so i haven’t done anything but glue bits of painted paper into pleasing compositions for three days straight. i’m afraid to stop lest i lose the mojo. which is all a long way of explaining why i chose this little succulent from a pot on my terrace for today’s STILL subject. and now has me wondering how often i look right over the beauty right under my own nose in search of something “better” out there.