en ville et en nature
April 9, 2012
Bédarieux has a market every Monday morning, even today on Easter Monday, some stalls fill the pedestrian streets – bread, cheese, olives, asparagus, books, baskets, plants and silk scarves from Jaipur – garner attention. A few of the facades of buildings in the old area have received decorative treatment . .
. . and some have received a full narrative treatment that makes it difficult to differentiate the real from the ideal . . . . . .
. . . watch out, you might get deceived . . .
. . . about what is real. What is real though, is enjoying the countryside and undertaking a walk that encompasses a view of the largest cherry orchard in Europe beyond Villemagne-l’Argentière – the site of Charlemagne’s mint. Starting off from the town, the walk follows a route passing the cemetery and a couple of territory proud dogs, to a ruined chapel of St. Martin. I got quite upset at this point as someone has decided to do some planting on the side of a limestone hill of Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’ and horrendous Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’. Poor St Martin, he deserved better! The path network and drove roads wind up through holm and cork oak, cistus, violets, liriopes, and clematis recta breaking through the stone surfaces. Frogs croak in the streams and yellow butterflies – brimstones – flutter about in gay abandon. Hoopoes, jays, starlings and sparrows provide the chorus. The river Mare flows through this landscape, and Pont du Diable, built in 1200’s as part of the pilgrim route to and from Spain, crosses the river just north of the town.
Quince is in flower generally and especially along the walk through pasture and vineyard . . .
. . old pedestrian and animal routes are still in use.
Walls hugging and creating the way are 4 metres thick and mostly beautifully maintained.
The cherry orchard was lost from view because either the directions were a little lacking or we missed a turn. Anyway, circumnavigating the area again it looks as though the old orchards have fallen into disrepair with many dead trees due to disease or sequentially dry winters . . .
. . . and back in town, wisteria in full flower spreads over walls and through trees as in the rest of the region and a beautiful avenue of planes is leafing up in a tantalising fashion. And the poem is not about looking backwards but moving on.
If there’s room for poets in this world . . .
Their sole work is to represent the age,
Their age, not Charlemagne’s – this live, throbbing age,
That brawls, cheats, maddens, calculates, aspires,
And spends more passion, more heroic heat,
Than Roland with his knights at Roncevalles.
To flinch from modern varnish, coat or flounce,
Cry out for togas and the picturesque,
Is fatal, — foolish, too. King Arthur’s self
Was commonplace to Lady Guenevere. Elizabeth Barrett Browning Aurora Leigh, bk. 5 (1857).