of flowers and fancies

The field is many shades of green, but brushstrokes of gold and white spread across and down the canvas, accentuating the gentle hill that stretches before me.

It is that touch of color that is my delight every year at this time, for it’s wildflower season in the Val de Dagne and the show is just beginning. Yellow and white lead the way, but each day on my walk I see new colors, some vivid, some pale. Today tiny blue, and light purple blossoms appeared, along with the showy red poppies that keep shouting, "Me! Me! Me!" Last year I counted over 50 different varieties on one walk. This year we’ll be leaving the valley before so many reveal themselves. C’est la vie.

Every year I expect to see someone with an easel and a paintbrush setting up beside the road, and every year I’m disappointed. Photographs are fine, but this delicacy requires a painter. Maybe this will be the year some discouraged Montmontre Monet will lose his way on the road to Barcelona and discover that his heart and talent were destined to record this scene. I can think of worse ways to spend one’s time.

He’d better hurry though. They’ll be building 14 houses in the field across the way, and no doubt more will follow. Will Diana’s valley become another monument to developer greed? We pray not.


I heard a new bird in Villar this afternoon. It was unlike any I’ve heard before, its call very like the clear, sharp sounding of a perfectly formed small brass bell. Ding, ding, ding, ding, pause one two three; ding ding ding ding, pause one two three; ding ding ding ding. . . .

Maybe it wasn’t a bird at all. Maybe it was just what it sounded like, a tiny bell tolling in the field-elves and fairies for their daily reporting. It could be, you know. Magic still happens here.