if you grow up in a place where everyone around you craves a particular food, then you will naturally learn to crave that same food. as difficult as it is to believe, as an american, no one here craves hamburgers. i’m not a typical american, culinarily speaking, but if you ask me for my top five food cravings when i need comfort, hamburgers will be on that list. you know what they crave here? sardines, apparently. i went to meet our fishmonger this morning, and he was selling sardines this week, after several weeks without them. every single person at his stand bought at least a kilo of sardines. as if they were satisfying a long, built-up craving, and at last the sardines were back. i ordered a kilo myself, and we grilled them. they were wonderful in their way. but the next time i really need something to lay into, it’s not going to be sardines. it’s going to involve some lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and maybe a third of a pound of medium rare ground beef.
you’ll have to pardon my fascination with beach-tossed feathers. i know i post a lot of them. i will field your complaints respectfully, and then ignore them. this is one of my very favorite subjects. i wish i had had five to photograph instead of three. eight. fourteen.
beach feathers, probably gull
this is called the purple heart plant in america, and misère pourpre, or purple misery in france. i am drawing zero conclusions about the relative temperaments of the populations of those two nations based on this nomenclature. coincidence, i’m sure. purple heart in the land of desert storm and shock and awe. purple misery in the land of sartre and camus. nothing to see here. everybody keep moving.
purple-heart plant (tradescantia pallida)
sorry, but not really sorry. these thorns and thistles have me fascinated. why would a region produce so much prickly defensiveness? is it because the landscape has historically been browsed by goats, who can only be deterred by thorns the size of roofing nails? is it because the impoverished soil produces so little green vegetation that everything not spiked risks being eaten to extinction? are these thorny plants actually ancient invasive species that came here once and could never reasonably be eradicated? i don’t know. little help?
a sample of local stems
autignac, languedoc, france
i’d like to claim that it was our recent drought that claimed another victim in this rear-courtyard palm tree. but no. our family was all-powerful, in this case. and we ended up being as capricious as nature herself in withholding our man-made rain while we were distracted by other things. i imagine this poor palm looking to the skies, seeing day after day of beautiful, deadly blue sky, and wondering when the rain was going to come.