throughout the hills behind our village, there are vestiges of the shepherds and goatherds who used to live their lives with their flocks. there are walls made of dry stack stones, and there are beehive-shaped dry-stack stone huts where they would wait out the weather. the huts are called capitelles, and they still dot the hillsides. building a stone structure without mortar is a painstaking and frustrating process, if this tiny, unfinished wall of sea-smoothed terra cotta tiles is any indication. i can’t imagine building something taller than me, that i would feel unafraid to spend the night in.
beach tumbles roof tiles (pierre sèche)
this queen is looking particularly regal today, looking heavenward, in her ermine shawl. all hail.
wild carrot (queen anne’s lace) in november sun
one of the side effects of living in the mediterranean as a north american is the recurring question: “who first decided that looked good to eat?” there are the thick shelled oysters for one thing. there is the horrific looking monkfish. there are sole and turbot with two disturbing looking eyes on the same side of their heads. there are the tentacled octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. there is something called a violet, which looks like a warty kind of potato and yields a mustard colored iodine flavored mollusk inside. and finally, there is the sea urchin, which looks like a pincushion and can leave spines inside a swimmer’s foot that migrate into deep tissue or lodge against bones or nerves. yet still, one day, several hundred thousand years ago, some swimmer looked down at the bottom of a shallow bay and saw a slowly moving spined black orb, and thought, “hmmm. i wonder.”
sea urchin shells
a circular phase
i’ve been doing a lot of circles lately. it may be a phase but right now, they are my favorite. after years of playing with different compositions–random spills, grids, lines, boxes, frames, etc–i find myself responding most to circles just now. maybe it’s purely aesthetic. maybe it’s a sense of solidarity with our round, suffering planet.
the beach at Sète, France
i just want to hold these wisteria seed pods in my pocket and rub their velour contours secretly all day and have them reassure me that there’s nothing to worry about. there. i feel better.
wisteria seed pods