left to itself, that stone is just a stone, with a little white scar from some flaw or former hurt. the vine is just an aimless twig. together, they are a couple. ok, an odd couple.
striped beach rock and driftwood
plage du lido, sète, languedoc, france
my 13 year old joe has worked his way through all of gerald durrell’s natural history adventures in corfu, and just began listening to e. o. wilson’s letters to a young scientist. he is suddenly on fire for science and biology, and after three months of having to pry him from his iPad, the difference is profound and heartening to his mother the scientist, and his father the reader/writer. today in a fit of daring and curiosity, he wrote an email to the professor emeritus of the entomology department of montpellier university asking him to help identify two insects joe had collected and couldn’t identify. we tried to prepare joe for the possibility that the professor emeritus of entomology at montpellier university might not have the bandwidth to reply to questions from a 13 year old american. approximately an hour later we received a reply from the professor, who identified both bugs, thanked joe for his interest in entomology, and directed him to a website where he might inform himself further on the arthropods of mediterranean france. i share this not to draw attention to what might, in the end, be a fleeting distraction in the arc of joe’s life. but as a way of praising the spirit of science, which tends to breed people like a professor emeritus of entomology who has time to share his strange and obscure intellectual passion with a 13 year old foreign stranger. although i accept that the quick response could also be due to another facet of being the professor emeritus of entomology: you don’t get a lot of fan mail.
three languedocien acorns: white oak, holm oak, kermes oak
these mushrooms formed a little wandering path through some dense thicket, in the shade of a grove of parasol pines. i don’t normally respond to gnomes and fairies and sprites and dryads, but i squatted down to look under the brush at this little line of stepping stones, and i have to say i wanted to imagine some tiny creature bounding along the forest floor from one mushroom to the next. the feeling will pass.
dried funnel mushrooms
while he sold us our mackerel this morning, the fishmonger reassured us that politics in france has got nothing to feel superior about, even in comparison to the recent american election. the same damn politicians have been working toward the same damn pensions for 50 years, and giving the “bras d’honneur” to artisans and small business owners and little old lady pensioners, who will not be collecting as much in their retirement, let me tell you, as the politicians will. when i go into debt, i pay my debts. when they go into debt, i also pay their debts. and now as a result of spending all that money that created all that debt (millions and millions of euros, and if you calculated it in francs!!! oh là là), apparently we are able to blow up the entire world 10 times. you tell me why blowing up the entire world one time is not enough.
i don’t really believe in good and evil, or heaven and hell, but i do believe that we have a dual nature and it is not angel/devil, but rather it is a primary nature that wants to be good, and an equally valuable and necessary and offsetting nature that, every once in a a while, for the pure joy of it, really wants, for a little while, to just be naughty.
bits of the garrigue
autignac, languedoc, france