Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something For Everyone . . .

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Somewhere in the south of France
Is a land that time forgot
I went there to forget
The madness of this world of ours
For a little while
And as I rushed back up the highway
At close to seventy miles an hour
Away from that place today
I wondered at all we have forgotten
All we have allowed to fade away
Wisdom in the earth and plants and beasts
How the village gathered for the ritual feasts
Now ancient stone buildings fall
Into ruins that call, that call
For some caring hand
To come rebuild those walls...
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These first two images may give you a little bit of an idea as to why I'm in love with the Causse Méjean, and have been since I first went there over twenty years ago. There is something there for everyone.
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Back in 1878 Robert Louis Stevenson travelled through the Cévennes, stopping in Florac, accompanied by his beloved donkey Modestine. I think some of her descendants are still living in the area. This is another one dedicated to Stickup Artist ; she may just have to take a little trip to southern France to go see some of these handsome creatures for herself.
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As some of you apparently appreciated the butterfly on lavender image in the last post, here is another photo from that same lavender bush, which was the largest lavender plant I've ever seen, in the cemetery in Saint Enimie, Gorges du Tarn.
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Finally, over the past few years, there has been a lot of very fine blogging going on at "Life Is Beautiful". Many exchanges with Jeff, the creator of Life Is Beautiful, have led me to the conclusion that he is a fine connaisseur of certain kinds of beverages, for which the French name is "tisane". Tisanes are drinks made from various sorts of herbs which are steeped in hot water in order to extract the active ingredients and flavors in the herbs, along the lines of herbal tea. I've sometimes wondered though if Jeff may on occasion be referring to other forms of liquid refreshments when speaking of tisanes, as he has indicated that he enjoys some tisanes which travel in barrels. I mentioned to Jeff just the other day that I had seen some tisane barrels near Florac recently, and that visual proof would soon be forthcoming... here it is. ( Jeff, désolé encore pour l'anglais, mais la traduction prend du temps, et voilà, bien que j'aime la langage de Molière, ma langage adoptée, l'anglais vient plus facilement et plus vite, et puis, pour ceux qui sont en dehors de l'hexagone, certains ont un peu du mal à comprendre autre chose que l'anglais, voilà tout. Sur ce, je te laisse imaginer ce qu'il y avait comme contenu dans ces jolis fûts anciens. Les deux premiers se trouvaient dans la rue à Florac, mais le troisième j'ai déniché dans la cave d'une très ancienne maison en ruine sur le Causse Méjean... Je me demandais si c'était peut-être la maison de ta grand-mère ? Est-ce qu'elle aussi aimait les tisanes ? ) 
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27 comments:

Elisa said...

Again, very beautiful photos, fine lanscape and so fine butterfly! I have heard that butterflies love lavendelies and so it seems ;) Have a beautiful day!

Steve said...

Loving the ruins of the stone cottages... they look almost like the remains of a neolithic settlement.

jeff said...

Toc Toc Toc !

Non c'est moi qui frappe sur le fût !...:)

Après moultes traductions, je suis arrivé à comprendre ce que tu avais écrit.. et là, que vois-je ? Tu as traduis le texte, rien que pour moi, ou plutôt écris du texte, en français ! ! ! Je t'en remercie beaucoup Owen ! Mais qu'est-ce que je me suis fais suer pour tout traduire pour enfin...:(

J'aime assez le dernier fût qui est assez esthétique... quant au contenu ( contenu en un seul mot ! ), je me doute que ça devait être du pinard ou du vin pour les intimes ! Levons le voile sur cette traduction du mot "tisane" et qui signifie... tu crois que c'est vraiment utile de traduire ? He bien non !

Je me doute bien que tu aimes communiquer dans ta langue natale et que c'est bien plus facile pour aligner ses idées ! Je m'imagine entrain de faire ma prose ridicule en anglais ! ! ! Cela me détruirait les idées...

J'aime beaucoup la photo de cet âne qui semble perplexe !

Passe de bonnes fins de vacances Owen ! Si j'ai bien compris, tu reprends le travail ! Courage amigo ! ce n'est qu'un mauvais moment a passer... pas les vacances... la reprise ! ! !

Merci beaucoup pour ta délicate attention à mon égard et à mon cher blog qui s'est endormi tel la belle au bois dormant !...:)

A plus owen ...:)

K'line Bloom said...

Un joli papillon, une invitation pour une "tisane-party", what else ?
Life is beautiful, tout simplement...:)
Bises Owen, bonne reprise.

Céline said...

Pour compléter le propos de K'line, je dirai : des vieilles pierre pleine d'âme et de souvenirs !
J'attends la suite... car il y une suite Owen, hein ?? Et très égoïstement, je suis contente que tu aies retrouvé le monde moderne et ses connexions à haut débit !!
Bises.

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Welcome back to civilization, Owen. I am curious about this beautiful region you introduce in this story. I am sure there were fewer tourists there than in Carcassonne, where we stopped by a few weeks ago! ;-) Loved the part about "les tisanes." They are also called "infusions." I never quite took to them, but most of my relatives would never think of finishing dinner without them. Great photos of the old "futs." Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

Nadege said...

Owen, André Chamson wrote a book about the Cévènes. I read it in english a long time ago when I found it at the Pasadena library. I haven't been able to put my hand on it since. Although it takes place in Provence, I really love Henri Bosco's books, "le mas Théotime" "Le Trestoulas" "Malicroix"... all those books take you in the heart of these regions.
It must have been painful driving Northbound on the freeway; "Bonne rentrée"!

Owen said...

Hi Elisa, many many thanks... it seemed like the lavender was a magical magnet for butterflies, there were dozens of them... but very hard to get a picture because the butterflies would not sit still, they kept fluttering around... very fast shutter speed needed...

Owen said...

Steve, the remains ? You should have seen the people who lived in them ! Mammoth hide clothing and poor dental hygiene, carrying big clubs and grunting a lot...

Owen said...

Salut Jeff !

Bon, comme la belle au bois dormant, j'ose espérer qu'un jour avant trop longtemps une fée va venir planter un bisou sur ton front et paf! la Vie Est Belle reprendra tranquilement sa route, car il a déjà fait un bon bout de chemin...

Enfin, après maintes et moultes efforts, tu as pu finir par comprendre, j'ai l'impression que l'on finisse toujours par se comprendre, si chacun met un peu du sien... mais merci d'avoir la patience de traduire et interpreter tous ces signes bizarres qui sont l'anglais...

Bon, je n'ai aucune idée pourquoi ce sacré sujet de tisane vient toujours sur le tapis, mais il semble visiblement difficile de faire partir les fûts de tisane une fois qu'ils commencent à se cumuler à la cave. Un de ces quatre j'espère que nous aurons l'occasion de trinquer de verres l'un contre l'autre, en vidant leur contenu (en un seul mot et un seul trait)par la suite...

Bonne fin de semaine Jeff, et oui, la reprise et dure, mais mieux ça que de ne pas avoir du boulot, n'est-ce pas ?

Ciao...

Bon sang, ces fûts sont lourds à rouler jusqu'à la cave !

Owen said...

Bonjour K'line,
Et oui, il y a toujours une raison dans cette belle vie à trouver pour organiser une tisane party... alors, à Lyon ? Paris ? Toulon ? Barcelone ? Merci pour les bises de la reprise... cela sonne bien
:-)
Bisoux to you too chère fée verte...

Owen said...

Hi Céline,
Et oui, il y aura une suite, j'ai déjà commencé à travailler d'autres photos à mettre... mais bon, petit à petit le crapaud fait son nid, errrr, son blog...

Pas facile de trouver un équilibre sain entre vieilles pierres d'il y a des siècles et ces cables électriques qui encerclent la terre du fond en comble. Mais tout cela me fait rever très fort...

Owen said...

Merci Véronique, effectivement, il y avait très peu de monde sur le Causse Méjean et dans les coins perdus des Cévennes que nous avons cherchés; sûrement moins de monde qu'à Carcassonne... peut-être mieux d'y aller à l'automne, voire en pleine hiver. Tu es rentré aux US maintenant, ou encore du temps à passer à flaner en France ? Bonne continuation de vacances si c'est encore le cas...

Owen said...

Hi Nadège, mille fois merci pour les noms des livres... I will take a look soon to track down some of them... and yes, driving away from a lovely vacation spot is never easy, always poignant, especially for a "nostalgique" like me...
Hope you are having a wonderful summer where you are... (California ? France ?)
Take care...

lgsquirrel said...

You seem to find an endless range of beautiful objects to photo. The butterfly and lavender flowers really is great.

Owen said...

Oh squirrely one, I guess there may still be a little beauty left in this world of ours, almost everywhere I go I end up finding something that seems either beautiful or poetic or both... but how much of that is me versus simply the world being full of beauty, I'd have a hard time saying... But I'm still looking for the most beautiful photo, maybe tomorrow I'll find it...

The Sagittarian said...

Oh you do have a big ass! Very cute and pert tho by the looks of it, well shot!! :-) Forgive me, dear Bro but I have had complete access to our dear sister's cellar and I am afraid I have come along all woosy and then got intoxicated by the beautiful photos here as well...love that flutterby.

Lydia said...

Because my computer has more difficulty keeping up all the time, I was able to read your entire introductory poem while the gorgeous images filled in. What a strange treat to be lost is those words, all the while knowing more was to come. What a glorious post! Thank you, Owen (and thank you, also, I guess, you outdated piece of technological sludge for giving me extra time at Owen's blog).

Owen said...

Dearest Saj, in your current state we will pardon you all excesses... and I must agree, a very nice ass indeed ! Now watch your step on the way home, don't stumble with a bottle in your hands ! Might be best to kip down under a tree and sleep it off before going further...

Owen said...

Lydia, Here's to technological sludge if it gave you a few extra moments to savor the flavor of these brief words and images, which are so little finally to convey the immensity of what we lived for the past two weeks in that wild and wonderful place... Hope all is well in the west of that vast country you live in which I once called home...

Was just reading a sad story about three people getting carried away in the current and over the 300 feet high Vernal Falls in Yosemite... according to reports in the press they failed to heed warning signs and climbed over a railing to take pictures closer to the water's edge...

Babzy said...

Very nice serie of photos , i love les Cévennes and tisane too ;)

Owen said...

Merci Babzy ! C'est magnifique les Cévennes, et à Ispagnac ils fabriquent un peu de tisane localement.... des vignes des gorges du Tarn... Cela vaut le détour.

James said...

What a beautiful place! It seems like a wonderful place to enjoy a slow pace while recharging.

Virginia said...

Of course I see how you fell in love. I think I might have tonight!
V

Roxana said...

yes, blown-away by these butterflies, now, always :-)

what a lovely holiday this must have been. but your lines make me melancholy again, how crazy times we live in and how much we need to escape somewhere, anywhere, away from everything (shattered with the Norway tragedy)...

nathalie said...

Des fûts à tisane ? Ah il fallait y penser ! En tout cas tous sont beaux, et l'âne ajoute une parfaite touche de vie.

Maria O. Russell said...

Beautiful poem M. Owen! Thank you so much.