Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An Afternoon Out . . .

.
.
.
Sunday a week ago, which would have been the 26th of June, la Grenouille and I decided to get out for a bike ride; stretch the legs and clear the cobwebs from between the ears. There is no shortage of places to ride around here, there are miles of forest in every direction with trails running every which way, some of which lead to rather interesting places. Before we'd hardly gotten started we found that there was a polo match in progress at the Polo Club of Chantilly, which is actually adjacent to the village of Apremont, just north of Chantilly. Now I can't say that I belong to the class of people that owns horses in order to race them at the Prix de Diane or to show them off at polo matches, and most certainly never will, but as with the hats recently at the horse races, I found myself watching with some fascination and even a touch of admiration; the horses were magnificent beasts, and I can only imagine that riding them while trying to chase a small white ball around a large field and whack the ball along with a slender stick is no mean feat. The following pictures were the result of a few minutes of observation there, before we rode off back into the woods. The flags here in this first image are at the entrace to the Polo Club of Chantilly.
.
.
.









































.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Even the cars driven to the polo fields had horses on them. (I have to admit, I was feeling better on my bicycle than I would have in been in one these gas guzzling ostentatious monstrosities. The epitome of planetary irresponsibility...but some are obviously oblivious to the fact that the human race is consuming oil at an accelerating and dizzying rate. "After us, the deluge...")
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
In the nearby forest campfires and barbecues were forbidden. This sign is on the small road from Apremont to Aumont-en-Halatte, where we continued our ride.
.
.









































.
.
.
While riding through Aumont-en-Halatte we stumbled on this sign for the Henri Barbusse Museum, which I'd never even heard of before in the region, though we've been in the area for the past 14 years now. Henri Barbusse was best known perhaps for his account of his experiences in World War One, having enlisted at the age of 41 in 1914, serving actively until 1916. His book was titled "Le Feu" (Fire), I'm going to have to track down a copy, and also go back and visit the museum some time when it's open.
.
.
.
.
.
This flower appears here for no apparent reason, other than it was growing just under the museum sign.
.
.









































.
.
.
Same for this deceased moth : it just happened to appear at my feet while walking in the cemetery in Aumont-en-Halatte. So I took a picture, for whatever it may be worth in the greater scheme of things. Something similar happened in Lynne's life in Canada the other day at about the same time, as you can see in this posting at Décolleté Glimpses, a charming blog if there ever was one. Except her moth was a much bigger moth, a behemoth, as she put it so aptly. Synchronicity.
.
.
.
.
.

20 comments:

English Rider said...

Interesting that of all the spectators in the first photo, only one is watching the Polo.

mythopolis said...

Lots of food for thought here. On the one hand, the horses are magnificent creatures, on the other hand we shape and condition them to meet our needs. They become trinkets or a charm bracelet on the sleeve of some kind of 'civilization'. On the one hand, there is the marvel of this auto. I don't know my cars, but it looks like it is up there in the realm of the best money can buy. On the other hand, another charm on the bracelet of the elite. Then we come to the flower. I don't know if it is a Rose O' Sharon, or not, but it looks like one. The simple beauty of such things offered up to all so spontaneously. The simple gift of nature all around us that we feel somehow alienated from. And then, the dead moth that looks like the future of my life, and perhaps, the life of anything.

This is a dismal post, I guess. Just thoughts occurring to me I guess, in response to the juxtaposition of these images. Thanks, it was a contemplation.

James said...

Looks and sounds like a great time! I've never watched a polo match.


I hope you get this comment because my last couple didn't show up. I thought it was strange when you asked if I was still on the road and now I see why. I've lost comments on your blog before now I'm wondering just how many?

Anyway in my previous comment I mentioned that the Hasard de Cheratte building is the place that I told you I wanted to visit while I was in Europe last Fall. It's actually an old mine and it was featured and photographed inside and out in a TV episode of PhotoXplorers.
The PhotoXplorers show an easy way to get inside.

Steve said...

I'm intrigued by what could have killed the moth - it looks almost perfect apart from what appears to be a tear in its underside at the back. A story we'll never ever know...

Mimi said...

funny, I pictured you "riding back into the forest" on a horse, till I remembered this was about a bike ride!
Never thought of polo in those terms, I always just thought of it as a Royal game. The entrance to the polo club is very impressive.
Enjoyed all your photos, especially the randomness of them (moth, flower, sign..)

Thomson said...

MagicDays,
The simple gift of nature all around us that we feel somehow alienated from. And then, the dead moth that looks like the future of my life, and perhaps, the life of anything.

Laurie said...

Re POLO, which I haven't watched for years, I can recollect the word 'chukka' which I think is connected. My father as a private soldier used to take part in tent pegging - there may be a distant connection, to polo, not my father - in England and India in the 20s and 30s. You rode at speed on a horse, carrying a lance and attempted to spear a tent peg which had been put in the ground. If you speared it, you swung your lance arm up to display the dead tent peg. Those were the days!

...louciao... said...

I'm really impressed by the clarity of your pictures of moving horses. Nice work! It also boggles my mind to think of going out for a bike ride and coming upon a polo match. It's almost as if you live an alternate universe. But wait, you do--it's France! Mais oui.

Dee Newman said...

Owen, as it often happens Dan (Myth) has already expressed much of what your photos have provoked with in me . . . will we ever become aware of the truth and consequences of our thoughtless actions?

Nadege said...

The french in me would say "snobs" about the polo players and their cars and the american in me would say : "they are so lucky".
The rose trémière is gorgeous!

Springman said...

I think I will just sit here quietly for a while and enjoy the view.

Céline said...

Une de tes photos m'a rappelé un panneau croisé à la Réunion il y a plus de 10 ans mais je m'en souviens encore ! Ce panneau disait : "Feux interdit, sauf barbecue" :-)
Comme quoi les Français d'outre mer sont beaucoup plus permissif. Il faut dire que des barbecues étaient aménagés dans cette forêt pour permettre au réunion de s'adonner à un de leur loisir préféré : le pique-nique dominical !! Je sais que tu es allé à la Réunion, I'm sure you know what I mean!!
Bises,
Céline

Catherine said...

horses are beginning to make a rather regular appearance in your posts - beginning to compete with the charming cemeteries, rusted wrecks and weathered walls - any comment?? Great sequence!! Greetings from Mexico (but only until Sunday......)

Crosby Kenyon said...

I like that the horses' forelegs are bound and therefore protected from errant whacks.

Nevine said...

Owen, you certainly have a knack for photographing horses. But you have a knack for photographing anything, if I have something to say about it. I love the colors of the flower, too. Nothing nicer than having something so beautiful appear so randomly, eh?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Owen!

Nevine

Owen said...

ER - I guess they have other things to watch, the horse and polo is accessory to the rest...

Myth - You hit the nail on the head, a dismal post, of sorts, but then I did take some classes once long ago in a subject known as "the dismal science", thinking it might help me understand the world we humans have created, but in fact they just served to instruct me in the recognition that nobody knows what is really going on...

James - guess you are just going to have to come back over and we'll go on a little trip to Belgium... although now after seeing the Opacity photos and the PhotoXplorers films there won't be so many surprises, but then, you never know, they couldn't show everything... take care and thanks again !

Owen said...

Steve - Mysteries of moth lives...

Mimi - If royalty is associated with riches, I see what you mean... I would have liked to ride off back into the woods on a horse... back in the days before cars...

Thomson - hopefully a bit more life left in your future before joining the moth here in the long sleep... so is the Magic Days an invitation to visit India ???

Laurie - Guess a good skill to learn if you have to ride into an enemy camp and make all their tents fall down on them before they can get rousted out and pick up their arms !

Lynne - Most certainly, an alternate universe... ! Full of mysteries !

Owen said...

Dee - I sort of doubt it; greed is rampant, an epidemic... always has been...

Nadege - Always more than one way to look at things I guess... merci bcp, content si la rose t'a plu...

Springman - Excellent idea !

All... merci bcp, thanks ! Have to run now, off to le Pont de Montvert today !

Owen said...

Celine - Oui, en effet, je me souviens bien de cette habitude d'aller faire des barbecues en pleine campagne à la Réunion, fallait se lever tôt pour avoir l'emplacement souhaité...

Catherine - pure coincidence, the horses, although, living in the heart of France's horse capital may have something to do with it... have a great trip and move and all !

Crosby - I hope those protective pieces are sturdy, as the way the bats are swung, it could get dangerous very easily... I notice many players wore face protection as well...

Nevine - am glowing ! :-)

Peter said...

« Riding through Aumont-… " You did not steel one of the horses ? Not the same kind of car that you normally take photos of! You live in a very chic area! <<<<yes, better check the opening hours of the museum, before you decide to go! :-)