Thursday, 30 July 2009

Up the road, afternoon.

The village seem to be sinking beneath a tide of high summer growth, bobbing like a ship as green waves of maize, trees, hedges, lap at the doors and windowsills.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Hill above Hénon, afternoon.

I pick up a large pine cone and throw it aimlessly. Molly uncharacterisitically retrieves it, and brings it home in the car, where she tidily puts it under her chair.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Down the road, evening.

The heifer's throat pulses as she gulps from the round trough. She looks up, water running from her mouth in shining rods, passes a mauve tongue over soft lips.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Up the road, afternoon.

The farmer's wife is riding in the back shovel of the red Massey-Ferguson tractor, with an axe-hammer. Returning, she is perched up front, and the shovel is full of logs.

Down the road, evening.

Picking an ear of wheat, I thresh it between the palms of my hands, let the wind winnow it, and chew the mealy grains. I haven't done this for ages!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, afternoon.

In a fallow field beside the track, yellow ragwort, russet docks, mauve thistles with silvery seedheads, unwelcome weeds, still make a bright stitchery against the brownish canvas of the grasses.

Down the road, early evening (Wednesday).

The dropped chestnut flowers make a browning mat around the gate and verges. I hesitate - are they like caterpillars, or pipecleaners? - then remember the French word, chenille, serves for both.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Woods near the water mill, Guettes-es-Lievres, morning.

There are tiny forests in the emerald clumps of moss, and a chapel in the wood, not three feet high, formed by the arches of a dead tree's exposed roots .

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Down the road, afternoon. A guest post by Rilke, who, in deference to his status, is allowed three extra words.

Landscape stopped halfway
between the earth and sky,
with voices of bronze and water,
ancient and new, tough and tender,

like an offering lifted
towards accepting hands:
lovely completed land,
warm, like bread!
(From the Valaisian Quatrains, French Poems, trans. Poulin.)

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Down the road, afternoon.

Outside Pierre's old house, an oak sapling in a crack in the tarmac, perhaps from an acorn dropped by a jay or secreted by a vole, appears to be bonsai-ing itself.

Down the road, afternoon (Friday).

Returning to our corner, Molly insists on continuing up the road as far as the open space in front of Victor's barn, where, it seems, there are some unmissable smells.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Up the road, afternoon.

Victor's dahlias, scarlet with nearly black leaves, are flowering now along the gable end of his barn, a structure of concrete breeze and rust-patterned corrugated iron, with dusty, cracked windows.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Up the road, afternoon.

Privet and buddleia smell cloyingly sweet, the trees are boiled-cabbage green, everything seems overcooked.

Truth to tell, I don't care for high summer, but hate to be wishing it away.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Up the road, afternoon (Sunday)

Purples and blues of knapweed, scabious, thistle, against the browning wheat and grasses.

A dozen swallows perform a flickering ballet round the telegraph wires. The young ones have stubbier tails.