we had a little “what do you miss about france” conversation tonight. steve and joe both blurted out, “oysters.” then both blurted out again, “moules marinières.” almost in tandem. if i had managed to blurt faster than my two boys, i would have blurted that i miss uninterrupted, unfragmented, unspoken-for, unquestioned, unshared, unstructured, unscheduled, and, since our return, unimaginable hours of creative play. i miss my dining room table converted to an art table, while podcasts play and i sip tea and arrange pieces of paper on other pieces of paper. in related news, today i called center point energy, healthpartners insurance network, allstate insurance, the piano tuner, our handyman, and the city of minneapolis utility billing departement. om…
etang de thau, languedoc, france
dense thickets of wild blackberry line all the roads and ditches of southern france, and border most of the patchworked parcels of grape vines. they are impenetrable. and if you spend any time, any time at all, in the open spaces surrounding the villages, you will soon find your shins and calves covered in a fine cross hatching of scrapes and scabs. i bitch about them constantly when i am in the languedoc. and now, here i am, only one week returned to the land of lobed leaves and smooth bark, and i am already nostalgic for these damned lethal beauties. it’s like being nostalgic for wood ticks. it makes no sense at all. but nostalgia doesn’t play fair.
wild blackberry canes
this is the common mallow (“wood mallow” or mauve des bois in french). it is found along vineyards and fields and roadsides in the fall in southern france, unlike its cousin the marsh mallow, which is most often found in a plastic bag near the back of the pantry behind the box of bisquick, or occasionally sandwiched between two graham crackers and a hershey bar.
common mallow/mauve sauvage/malva sylvestris
these leaves spent last summer soaking up the mediterranean sun in order to help grow some wine grapes that we will be tasting, in fermented form, sometime this next summer. then they spent the early fall turing these delicious shades of olive green. we are a house divided. steve would gladly give up these hues for a glass of this summer’s wine. i would gladly abstain from a glass of wine or two, in order to luxuriate in these hues.
dried grape leaves
scientists in china recently found a golden chunk of 99 million year old amber with a tiny dinosaur tail covered with pristinely preserved feathers. it was a huge find and it made international news headlines. the amber adds to fossil evidence that many dinosaurs sported feathers rather than scales. they speculate that these early feathers were never intended for flight, but were either ornamental or used for insulation. and that the earliest dinosaurs did not roar, but rather cooed. i am endlessly in love with feathers, but do not have endless things to say about them, and i have posted a lot of them over the years. i’m pretty pleased with myself, to have come up with a connection between this feather and a 99 million year old dinosaur. and now it’s bedtime.
buse variable feather