Wildflowers in the garrigue
Spring has been teasing us this year, sprinkling a few days of warm sunshine into a cauldron of high winds, cloudy days, and occasional rain. This has all paid off nicely, though, with an abundance of long-lasting wildflowers.
But first, what’s a garrigue?
I live in the garrigue of southern France, and like any other environment, it leaves its mark on those who live here; for me, this is especially true of the look of the land and the smells and tastes of this region.
A cool blue evening and a rich coral sunset provide the setting for this graceful branch in “The Last of the Almond Light.”
Spring has sprung!
A few days ago, I knew that spring was really here to stay when I noticed tiny spots of young spring green on the local grapevines. But in truth, spring has been teasing us for weeks now.
It began in February with the almond trees. It wasn’t like this last year, my first in the area. Last year, the flowers began to appear in January, were quickly hit with a hard frost, and that was the end of the almond bloom. This year, the trees waited a full month longer, and wow, did they put on a show. I’ve never lived near almond trees, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop; I didn’t know which way to look, and it kept getting better. One day I was out driving, and I realized that the fields and hills were dotted with what appeared to be little puffballs, soft white with a hint of pink. Everywhere I turned, puffballs. It was the almond trees, in full bloom, and it was enchanting.
The flowers around here are bursting forth in an ecstatic springtime dance.
It began quietly enough in January, when tiny blooms began to appear on the wild rosemary bushes that dot the hillsides near where I live. This was good timing: I’ve learned that an infusion made with sprigs of rosemary—especially when there are flowers—is beneficial for the respiratory system, and about half the town had the flu this winter. And beyond that useful tidbit, the lovely periwinkle flowers brightened the landscape through the grey, windy days of winter.
About a dozen years ago, I made a single New Year resolution: to live more in my heart and less in my head. It turns out this one single thing is a lifelong process, at times frustrating, always fascinating.
In school, I earned A’s in math classes and was told I should consider a career in engineering. For a long time, my hobby was architecture; I used to design wildly bizarre floorplans, and even built models of a few of them. But engineering never interested me, and eventually I chose not to pursue architecture either.
I studied graphic design in college, and that was my first exposure to the cultural division between following one’s head and following one’s heart. We saw the painters and sculptors as the spacy ones who would probably never earn a living with their art, while we were the “smart” ones who used our art to find a better-paying job. I’m pretty sure those “spacy” artists thought we had sold our souls.