eternal spring

we found this dried seed pod of the flower “love in the mist” on a hillside just across from a local spring, which, like perrier, produces an endless, and endlessly profitable, stream of sparkling water, called vernière. the local waters in this area supposedly have healing powers, although those powers do not appear to have crossed the road to the hillside where this flower aged into a dry and  brittle senescence.

nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist)

vernières, languedoc, france

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  • Dede says:

    You can see a time-lapse video of one blooming n youtube and it is amazing. Enjoy your time there!

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  • Erica says:

    Ooohh. Love the play of light and shadow, focus and blur on this one.

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antique food

one of the unexpected thrills, for an american, of living within an hour’s drive of the mediterranan, is the occasional glimpse it provides into a world that was flourishing a couple of thousand years before the declaration of independence. the chestnuts ripening on the trees along our leisurely afternoon drive today would have been completely familiar to a roman soldier, marching wherever caesar had sent him this time. his dinner that night would very possibly have been a porridge of ground and boiled chestnuts. i only hope he enjoyed it. and i hope he finished his meal the way we just did. with a cup or two of wine.

châtaignes (edible sweet chestnuts) castanea sativa

valley of the river orb, colombes, languedoc, france

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  • Mary Ann says:

    Three in a row–are they soft or prickly? Enjoy your time, your meals, and the French wine.
    xo

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  • Awesome #clownsuit

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    • Lol. I had the exact same clown-suit thought.

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alder and trout

twelve year old joseph is starting to fall in love with fishing, which is an event his father has been waiting for, sometimes patiently, sometimes not, for a number of years. one of joe’s stated goals for this trip for france was to go fishing on one of our favorite rivers, the endlessly beautiful orb, which winds between wooded banks from the hills behind us, down onto the coastal plain, before emptying into the hérault river and eventually into the mediterranean. there are trout in most of its upper reaches, and steve and joe climbed into the river together one morning last week, true fishing buddies for the first time. it was an auspicious moment, and we all would have considered it even more so, if we had recognized that the deeply veined leaves of the small trees lining the bank of the river next to us were alder leaves–the same tree that lines the banks of most of steve’s favorite trout streams in michigan and minnesota. no fish were caught that day, but two days later the boys went out alone together, and, on the verge of giving up, they caught a small brown trout from behind a rock in the middle of the stream, and had, at last, successfully fished on the orb. i’m afraid i’ll be seeing less of both of them over the next few years.

alder leaves (feuilles d’aulne)

orb river, le bousquet d’orb, languedoc, france

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  • beautiful.

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  • Mary Ann says:

    Those shades of green! Love, love your fishing tales!
    xo

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cottonheads

i don’t know what this grass is called, despite a very nerdy effort this evening via google and a guidebook called “la garrigue, grandeur nature” (thank you sonia!). the little woolly seed heads of this plant are bobbing everywhere right now along the streets of our village and along the rural roads of the languedoc. all i can think of is the fact that i am 52, and despite spending most of my life feeling pretty sharp, i sometimes feel as empty headed as this seed fluff: what was that place called? where did we go that year? who was that guy, you know, that guy . . . with the hat? and the . . . you know . . . at that place?

abundant roadside grasses

autignac, languedoc, france

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  • Mary Ann says:

    Oh, My Goodness, how I can relate! I am finding so much to ponder after reading your posts each day. Love the airy heads so much.
    xo

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    • Suzanne says:

      !!!

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  • It could be a grass of the genus Miscanthus?, if so they are “city breaks” garden plants. Beautiful photo

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  • suzanne says:

    goodness but i love your blog. your photos stun me, your writing so satisying. thank you!

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  • suzanne says:

    *satisfying

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  • Oh how I can relate!

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hops in wine country

steve found this wild hop vine while trout fishing with our son joseph today on the river orb, which is one of the most beautiful rivers in southern france. they were looking for a new fishing spot, walking along the edge of a vineyard, when they ran into a tangle of wild hops. grapes for wine. hops for beer. mother nature clearly had a plan for this part of the world.

hops with flower cones (humulus lupulus )

bouscet d’orb, languedoc, france

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  • Mary Ann says:

    Love the length and soft green. The flowers look like ballerina tutus. Thank you for sharing the discoveries of your family.
    xo

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  • So delicate…love the various shades of green!

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