Thursday, May 6, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . .

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On Monday afternoon of this week I wasn't working and went out to run a couple of errands, like getting my hair cut, washing the car, filling up the gas tank. When all that was done, I realized it was still daylight and oddly enough for some reason my camera had snuck out of the house with me, so I thought then that I'd just take a short little look up a road not far from here that I'd been meaning to go look at more closely for a few days . . . Well, it is dangerous for me to be let out of the house with the camera in tow, Monday was no exception; I spent the next two hours or so until darkness forced me home out poking around, doing what I love best. Off a main road I turned up a tiny side road which cut right up into some brilliant yellow fields of rapeseed. Why it's called that I couldn't say, for the yellow of these plants is about as far from violent as you can get. . . pure botanical joy if you ask me. This was almost as good as heading up the fabled yellow brick road in the land of Oz . . .
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Like Dorothy in her poppy field, I soon found myself up to my waist in the middle of intense yellow, surrounded by yellow, drunk on yellow !
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A mysterious structure loomed deep in the field . . .
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Couldn't help wondering how many hundreds of years it's been there . . . and whether perhaps inside there is a stairway going down, down, deep into the earth . . .
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The edges of the fields of rapeseed along the road were lined with a thick band of stinging nettles. Believe me you don't want to walk through these with shorts on. They do make excellent soup though, if you can manage to cut them without getting burned by their toxin . . . Once boiled they're safe to eat and marvellously nutritious. . .
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But it was the rapeseed I was worshipping, even lying on the ground looking up . . .
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A yellow feast for the senses . . .
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Finally, at another edge of the field, there was a carpet of violet under the trees . . . What more could one wish for on a stolen afternoon out ?
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61 comments:

louciao said...

These photos are absolutely stunning!

louciao said...

I think you should definitely be allowed out to play more often.

James said...

I liked your last post but I love this one. This looks like a wonderful dream to me. The photos are so beautiful!

Lulu Sorcière said...

Quand le paysage s'habille en jaune, le photographe nous régale !
Magnifique !
Bises !

K'line Bloom said...

Owen, tu as réinventé le chemin de briques jaunes, avec tes yeux, avec ton cœur...le tien est un merveilleux tableau plein de lumière et de douceur.
Et aucune sorcière à l'horizon ! ;-)

Karine A. said...

Les champs de colza... un régal pour le regard.

Elle est largement cultivée pour la production d'huile alimentaire et d'agrocarburant. C'est avec le tournesol et l'olivier, l'une des trois principales sources d'huile végétale alimentaire en Europe.
Toutefois, son usage comme agro-carburant est actuellement assez contesté sur le plan écologique. Car cette culture utilise de grandes quantités d'engrais responsable d'un effet de serre important.L'alternative serait une espèce de colza OGM, mais controversé aussi à cause de son impact sur la biodiversité.
Les recherches se poursuivent pour trouver la meilleure solution possible. en attendant, rien ne nous empêche d'admirer ces magnifiques couleurs...

Steve said...

Makes me want to dive in and roll around in all that buttery goldenness...

Adam said...

Fantastic photos Owen. I take it thought that you are not someone who suffers from allergies. I'm sneezing just looking at these pictures.

There is another reason why I don't particularly like rapeseed though (the colour of which I find very violent!) and that is because it serves very little purpose. Farmers grow it because they are given subsidies to do so, not because anyone wants to buy it or use it.

Eleonora said...

Oh my goodness, Owen this is making my head spin. Stendhal Syndrome, some call it.

The rapeseed field is stunning, but you captured its pure essence with these photos. You are so talented!!!
I wouldn't be surprized to find out you're on your tenth published book!

OK now you have to find out more about the mysterious pointy structure.

Ciao
Eleonora xx

PS Nettle soup is superb. In Italy nettles = "ortiche"

.:: Karine ::. said...

alors owen adoré, tu as fait l'école buissonnière !

tu as eu bien raison car ces photos sont magnifiques et ensoleillent notre matinée

je vais maintenant m'allonger (cela devient une habitude chez toi) sur ce beau tapis violet et regarder le ciel, les oiseaux et écouter la petite musique de la nature

sans oublier de t'embrasser avant :-)

Rima said...

What wonderfulness in Yellow! :)
Beautiful pictures!

Lydia said...

I could die now and be happy with these the last images I saw in life.

joo said...

I love the moment when the fields get yellow and air smells like honey!
Beautiful post.

Catherine said...

Once you got your hair washed, your car filled up, and your car....cut ? well, remix,
please :-)....what a wonderful travel you've done, Owen ! A golden bath.....you even crossed the nettles stinging border to offer us a wonderful close-up (one of my favorite with the first and the last one, if you want to know all)!
So, like your wife may say "you should go and run for errands a little more often"....cause what you bring back is a real page of poetry for the eyes.
Did you think about buying vinegar for the stings of nettles ? Think about for your next day-off.
The last one is wonderful, did I already say it ? Well ! I repeat.

clo said...

a magical moment dear Owen...
really nice shots...the first one and the last one are my favorites...
you are the magician of the color world...
poetic and charming post...thanks for all these beauty...
kisses from the land of rain...

TechnoBabe said...

Your little jaunt was so worth it. You found a treasure to photograph. The pictures are beautiful.

@eloh said...

You live in beauty... how wonderful it is that you know it and share it.

It's also pretty wonderful that you have talent with the camera.

Ya know... Mt. Fuji is surrounded by rape blossoms. No kidding.

Stickup Artist said...

I'm so glad you decided to take that walk! That field is sublime. It is so magical that it does remind one of the Wizard of Oz. I can see how you'd get lost in it for a couple of hours. Great shots each and every one. I love them all.

Peter said...

All so nice, but maybe I prefer the last one with almost ALL colours! This is certainly a season for taking some time off (or be retired)if you look for colours!

Clytie said...

I remember seeing fields of these when I was in Germany - silly me, never thought to take a picture!

Of course mine would never have been as stunning as yours! The one with the purple flowers in the foreground is absolutely mind blowing.

And yes, we want to know more about the lonely little turret in the middle of the field !!! ???

francescbb@hotmail.es said...

Great pictures, and blog!!!

http://balapertotarreu.blogspot.com

Frank

Jessie said...

I was busy reading this and saw the rapeseed fields thinking yes, very yellow, maybe too yellow I don't know, then scrolling down, my heart leapt when I came across that STUNNING photo at the bottom! Wow! Those bands of colour are glORious! :)

French Fancy said...

I reckon you could send that last photo in for a competition. It is such a stunning contrast in colour.

As for rape - I find these days I have to alter the car settings if I am driving past a field of it. I get a terrible allergic reaction.

The Laundress said...

Just beautiful. Put a smile on my face to see so much yellow all at once! Here it is all dandelions in the fields at the moment -- but not the same effect at all!! So glad your camera snuck out of the house with you!!

Nadege said...

That makes me really homesick!
We are so lucky your camera snuck into your car.

FishStikks said...

These glorious colors just took my breath away!! Your beautiful photos do them great justice.

I can almost smell them from here and it's heaven.

ρομπερτ said...

sigh
dear owen, what to say, else than thank you for this entry of yours.
there are days, maybe rather nights, when i "fear" reaching your site, as it is always able to provide this "damn hope" that makes me wonder much, what i might be doing wrong, missing this ability.
photography that reaches the soul.
please have a peacefilled friday.
p.s.: did what i could to prevent the situation to reach that point, yet with further demonstrations tonight, trash container filled for a week in a city of 5mio., pharmacies closed for four days in a row, am just not knowing where this leads to. on one hand very alluring to follow and feel, on the other one would love to count the yellow flowers of yours each, hoping it would take a lifetime or two.

Fin said...

Stunning Owen!

Nevine said...

Owen, you've done it again... stunned me with the color and its beauty. The rapeseed... I could swim in that. And those beautiful purple blossoms... well, that's my favorite color. But it's your photos of that lonely little... what is it? I'll call it a retreat. Yes. It's your photos of the lonely little retreat that just sang inside my heart. This beautiful little spot that I can just go inside and sit in the darkness and listen to the nothingness. Perfection.

That fire in San Antone... you could see the smoke for miles. Literally. Not anywhere near where we live, but a few miles down the road from where my husband works. And I was driving out to meet him for lunch that day. And I saw the smoke. I didn't know what it was until I heard about it on the news. Yes, oil. It has left its black mark on us for the past few decades. And I don't think it's going to be over any time soon.

Just keep me smiling with your photos, Owen. Sometimes, we need to look at the world through someone else's eyes, and camera lenses... ;-)

Nevine

Dedene said...

Beautiful photos! Hope you didn't have an allergy attack after that.

ladydi said...

They're all lovely, but that last photo is a show stopper! The layers of color please my quilter's soul.

Owen said...

To all -
All work work work and too little play makes Mr Toad a slow blogger at times...

Owen said...

Dear Lynne,
You're going to have to say a prayer to all the deities of work and play and goofing off, and inform them that that Mr Toad needs more of the latter two, and less of the first... I'm sure they'll listen to you... That's what big sisters are for, right ?!?
;-)

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Hi James, it was a wonderful dream, for sure, and so intense that I'm now starting to wonder if rapeseed may be a distant cousin to opium poppies, there was certainly something in the air there...

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Bonjour Lulu Sorcière... je pense qu'une sorcière sur un balai volant est passé par le nord, et à chaque geste d'une baguette magique, des champs entiers sont devenus jaunes brillants... et après le jaune du colza, j'attends avec impatience (pas de jeu de mots intentionnel par là) l'arrivée des coquelicots dans le nord... c'est pour bientôt je crois.

Owen said...

Bonjour K'line !
Tout petit j'était un grand passionné du Wizard of Oz... savais-tu que l'auteur du bouquin original, L. Frank Baum, avait écrit 14 livres dans la série qui commencent avec le Wizard of Oz, et puis après sa mort, que la série avait été poursuivi par une femme (Ruth Plumly Thompson) qui a écrit encore 19 livres en plus... bref, il y a du matière à creuser dans le domaine, ce sont des histoires qui restent puissantes dans l'imagination même des décennies plus tard... Bon weekend et bisoux, merci...

Owen said...

Salut Karine A...
J'admire bcp ton approche équilibrée et bien informée sur les sujets sensibles écologiques comme ceci. Je suis en permanence navré par ce que l'on peut voir un peu partout qui démontre les dégats que nous infligeons à notre planète... est bien évidemment aimerait que les choses changent.

Ceci étant dit, la couleur jaune intense des champs de colza m'émerveille chaque fois que je le vois de loin ou de près, purement d'un point de vue aesthetique, c'est magnifique... et bien triste et tragique que des choses belles peuvent s'avérer être sources de poisons... drole de monde...

Owen said...

Steve, dive right in ! Aren't there any rape fields around Leamington?

==============

Hi Adam,
I guess I'm not too sensitive to rapeseed, although I know alot of people are. Saw an interesting discussion of the subject here :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-458357/Runny-eyes-wheezy-chest-Blame-Britains-crops-rapeseed.html

And yeah, I know it's being grown in a strange cycle of government interventions and production of biofuels that may have more ecological cost than their savings in use of other petrochemicals. We live in an irrational world, which is getting more irrational as we speak. And with over seven billion of us, what impact can any one person have ? Color me concerned. But I do like the yellow, strictly from a visual point of view...

Owen said...

Ciao Lola !
Funny, I'd never heard of Stendahl's Syndrome, had to look it up... and learned it is also called Syndrome de Florence, where it was identified in tourists suffering serious symptoms after having taken in large amounts of art... well, my goodness, if you have experienced it here, then I guess that is quite a compliment, to be compared to Florence in that way ! :-)

Hope you're feeling better now. You may want to take a rest before going back into the other 900 posts on this blog...

So far no published books... this is it, right here, for now; although who knows, maybe someday this blog will be "discovered"... Ha ! Keep dreaming, right ?!

Owen said...

Bonjour .::Karine::. !

Quelle belle expression, de faire l'école buissonnière, ah, les images que cela provoque... des mômes dehors dans la journée au lieu d'être à l'école... et oui, c'est moi ! Apparemment cette expression pourrait venir du 15ème siècle :

"Pour certains, elle vient du Concile de Pavie, en 1423, auquel les prélats refusèrent de se rendre en raison de la peste qui sévissait dans cette ville, épisode décrit par Marot : "Vray est qu'elle fust buissonnière, l'escolle de ceux de Pavie"."

Et j'espère que tu as pu passer un très bon moment couchée sur ce tapis violet du sous bois, à regarder le ciel à travers le foliage, et oui, un endroit paisible et magique... mais en fait ce serait encore mieux s'il y avait un hamac entre deux arbres là, comme ça quelqu'un pourrait s'y coucher sans aplatir les fleurs... :-) Mais attention à des habitudes, parfois elles sont difficiles à arrêter une fois commencées. Mais bon, il n'y a pas de mal à vouloir se reposer dans un endroit qui fait rever...
:-)
Bises !

Owen said...

Hi Rima,
I am so happily surprised by your visit that I'm stuttering, blushing, hemming & hawing, tripping over my feet, but where are my manners, I'm sure after your travels to get here you'd like a cup of tea, we've got some very good ones, carefully brewed, not in tea bags... and do you take a spot of cream or honey perhaps ? In all truth, your blog is one of the absolutely most beautiful in the entire blogosphere that I know of... and you are a superbly gifted artist, and very busy too from all I can gather, so yes, altogether I quite struck dumb and smiling by your presence here. Do drop by if you can from time to time, we'll keep a kettle on just for you...
:-)

Owen said...

Lydia ! Please don't... I'd like you to have many many more happy years in front of you, and many more visits here. I've always liked the expression, "I thought I'd died and gone to heaven" though, and am very pleased by your words here... tickled even yellower than I already was after getting dusted by the rapeseed pollen...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Joo... well I'm not sure how much like honey these fields smell like, and some people have violent reactions to it, but it is a truly lovely moment in the Spring season here...

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Bonjour Catherine,
En effet, je dois écouter la Grenouille plus souvent quand elle me harcelle avec des demandes de faire des courses ou autres boulots qui exigent des trajets, cette fois-ci elle m'a menacé avec un poèle, donc j'étais bien obligé de sortir...

Sinon, je n'ai pas encore essayé le vinaigre sur les brulures des orties, va falloir la prochaine fois. En fait je fais tout mon possible pour les éviter totalement, car je suis archi-sensible à ses méchantes petites plantes. Le vinaigre est aussi efficace contre les plaies provoquées par certaines méduses vénineuses si je comprends bien... bien que là aussi je n'ai pas encore essayé. Tes arcs en ciel sur Paris étaient fabuleux là l'autre jour... Alors, maintenant je dois repartir pour remplir mes cheveux et couper la voiture...

Owen said...

Chère Clo,
ah, the land of rain ?!? I saw where Nice got battered by waves... did you get that same storm ??? Hope all is ok where you are. The USA has been getting some terrible storms these past few days... things keep getting stranger and storms stronger all over. J'ai un peu peur pour l'avenir pour vrai dire. Et sinon, que puis-je dire autre que mille fois merci pour ta gentillesse, et c'est pour quand le café ? Ce qui est bete c'est que la Grenouille avait une tante et son oncle qui habitaient dans le Var, et on aimait bien descendre les voir, ils avaient une belle maison pas loin de Vidauban. Mais la maison a disparu dans une des incendies de la région (criminelle) et ils ont démenagé d'abord vers Nice, puis maintenant à Paris. Mais bon, un de ces 4 on va redescendre dans le sud. Voir toi et Jeff, et Nathalie, et Jilly serait un beau projet...

Owen said...

Hi TechnoB... glad you had a good bit of a colorful stroll here... !

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Hey @eloh,
Even after close to 18 years here, it never fails to amaze me how much beauty there is here in France. But then France has no monopoly on beauty, can be found most anywhere I guess, even in Alabama... which I was pleased to learn is only second to last in some categories of measure. And I didn't know that Mt Fuji is surrounded by rapeseed fields, but very quickly found some photos on Google that would seem to confirm that... I'm guessing you may have spent some time there in your travels ? And reading your last post, I was thinking about acronyms for laughter, which you certainly know how to cause in large doses, acronyms like LOL for laughing out loud, or LSHIAPMP, laughing so hard I almost peed my pants... but how about : LSHMWAFO ; Laughing so hard my winkus almost fell off !

PS I know I'm slow, but am still going to get back to you on your earlier question, I still haven't been back to the lab to pick up the last batch of work I gave them... which is when I'll inquire about other prints...

Owen said...

Hiya Stickup, glad to have you along for the walk... as much as I dislike the notion of rigourously fertilized farming like this, the yellow just overwhelms my senses when I see it... can't resist... it's a drug !

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Hey Peter,
Couldn't agree with you more, about being retired; maybe you have some secrets to pass on to me about how to retire early, so I could go to the école buissonnière more often, and get out searching for colors full time...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Clytie, well, I guess it's important to remember to take a camera everywhere one goes, especially to foreign countries, as photo opportunities can happen at the strangest and most unexpected times... As for the stone roundhouse there in the field, I'm curious too now, it is very unusual as far as field huts go, where often farmers keep some equipment. This one seems too classy. Maybe I'll have to leave a note on the door and ask someone to call me ? Or just camp out there until someone comes by to harvest the rapeseed...

Owen said...

Hello Frank, many thanks for dropping in here... I took a quick look at Bala, and can see you're doing alot of fascinating work... do stop back...

Owen said...

Hi Jessie, well, I don't know if it is possible to have too much yellow... but who knows, maybe... will have to go listen to "Mellow Yellow"... but if you liked the last one which tempered the yellow with some violet and green, then I'm happy !

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Hi FF, many thanks, will have to keep an eye out for competitions...
:-)
Concerning allergies, see response to Adam above, and the article mentioned. Apparently fairly few people are actually allergic to rapeseed pollen, but the variety of oil fumes they give off is another story...

Owen said...

Hi Laundress, oh shy one, well, dandelions are almost as good, and sending seeds sailing with a puff on a puffball is always good fun. Do you think the camera should be punished for sneaking out of the house ?
:-)

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Hi Nadege,
Photos can be a good cure for homesickness, or they can add to the nostalgia, to the longing to be somewhere other than where we are for a while... where was home then ?

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Hi Fishstikks... glad you enjoyed the sights and almost smells then... Soon I'm sure Blogger will incorporate smell into the blogging experience...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Robert, I'm very touched by your message here, and can only encourage you to keep practicing, keep experimenting with the camera until you reach the place that makes you happy with it, most important is being happy oneself with the results, and if a few other people like what happens, that is a wonderful fringe benefit... As for Athens, I guess the whole world has sat up and is watching now, holding breath, hoping against hope that this is not the start of another round of global financial mayhem with big impact for many other people. Who would've guessed that Greece could have such big problems. Wow. I sure had no idea until recently. Be safe...

James said...

Hello again Owen. These pictures are just as amazing the second time.

I'm not sure but I think the tree that you asked about is a birch.

Owen said...

Dear Fin,
Meeeooowwww... can you hear me purring with pleasure ?

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Dear Nevine,
I think that structure out in the field there must be a secret meeting place for Druids on the night of the full moon in Summer, they go in and sit in a circle and weave their spells, spells of magic that may help the human race survive in a healthier manner than at present... in any case, if it is singing in your heart, may it do so forever and ever, in some small way...

And good to know you weren't anywhere near that latest of conflagrations... stay safe...

Shall try to keep the smiles coming, smiles of warmth, smiles of joy, smiles of sadness too sometimes, sadness that life is not longer, that life is not more open with possibilities than in reality it is...

Owen said...

Hi Dedene, I guess I got off lucky... just a little bit of runny nose that didn't last long... and plenty of yellow memories....

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Hi Di, I'm sure you could do a beautiful quilt or two with these colors for themes... have fun !

Amy said...

I don't have much to say but WOW. It doesn't even look real. The yellow flower field is stunning, but the violet flowers under the trees truly look like a place where magical things can happen. I'm glad you had your camera with you; we benefited from it!

Roxana said...

aaaa

i adore it, these violent colours bloom in my heart, make me burst with joy...

and you know what, i have just photographed rapeseed fields myself, now i will hurry to finish them so that i might accompany your post and make a sort of atlas of rapeseed fields of Europe :-)

Roxana said...

ps. but what i don't have is a carpet of violets :-(

amazing beauty

Sar@h said...

Ah les champs de colza ! Quelle lumière dans le paysage !

J'ai la nostalgie des champs de lin en Normandie. Le matin en allant au travail, une onde verte qui frétille à la moindre risée … et le soir un océan de bleu-vert qui ondule

Owen said...

Hey Amy,
Sometimes one finds oneself in places that do seem to go beyond reality, this is where we venture into the surreal, and who knows if we will find our way back out again once we venture into such places. There was strong magic in the air the other afternoon, I am at a loss to explain why some days are like that...

Owen said...

Roxana,
If anything I can do here hundreds of kilometres away can make colors bloom in a heart such as yours and cause bursting with joy, then it is all worthwhile, and I will make considerable efforts to repeat the experience, like sending postcards from a voyage each containing a simple message of warmth and appreciation and conspiration and inspiration... the wonders of the internet do not cease to amaze me...

Of course I cannot wait now to see what you, oh most talented of sorceresses, will do with fields of rapeseed, I have no doubt you will be transforming them by carrying across the floating bridge of dreams into translucent visions of pure bliss...

And your idea of creating an atlas of rapeseed fields across Europe, and why not around the world, is wonderful, I hope some other bloggers will pick up on the thought expressed here and share with us their visions of vibrant yellow from around the globe... For sure, can't wait to see the Romanian version... will be sitting on the edge of my chair...

And if carpets of violet are missing where you are, you are of course welcome to come and take a tour of these and any others we can find here in France; or perhaps you will just have to start sowing seeds on some of your long walks in the woods ?
:-)
mulţumesc Roxana...

Suzanne said...

Don't think that I can add much more to all of these comments...outstanding and beautiful.

the watercats said...

I lived in Lincolnshire in the u.k for seven years.. I hate rapeseed! It is the scourge of the planet! It is sprayed beyond belief, it seeds itself along every headgerow eradicating native species and it was grown in such vast quantities around where i lived, some days you had to put your wipers on the car because of the pollen. I never suffer from hay fever, but was so saturated by the stuff one year I now have an intolerance to it.. unfortunately they've just started growing it over here! I've even found it growing in our paddock and we're up the mountain, at least fifteen miles from the nearest field of rape!...
The bluebells however.. are beautiful! :-D

Owen said...

Hi Suzanne,
Many thanks !

======================

Ah Cats,
your honesty is totally appreciated. I know that rapeseed, like many industrialized agricultural undertakings has got a big poisonous downside, and many people can't tolerate the odors... But for me it's just the way it paints bright yellow patches on the countryside. From a purely visual point of view, I love it... and now that I've got these photos, you're welcome to have the whole lot turned under...