water and woods

September 30, 2012

After some bouts of gusty weather, the eryngium  inhabit the sand and blow about like sharp filigree skeletons. Serignan beach is still  inhabited  by just a smattering of us heavy mortals too. It’s still beautiful – the sea warm – natural vegetation continues its cycle. But, when the clouds appear it seems a good idea to move east to visit Cap d’Agde. . .

. . . dark blackish sand here and many more humans around – mostly well over 70 – seems like the land of the long forgotten but, of course, this is the new important strata of society that instills itself on the rest. Early retirement on large pensions and the expectation of many years to come – although here medical health is privately financed  – means that many such ‘retirement’ developments will continue crop up along the coast. A neighbour told me that in the early ’70’s, Cap d’Agde consisted of hectares of mounded sea shells with not a building in sight. Blimey, now it’s concreteville of the worst sort. I didn’t take photos of that, only of the views out to sea  . . .

. . .  Atriplex halimus left to stretch itself randomly or, clipped down to form flat tables, as below. Sparrows love it and spread the seed wherever they nest and shit  .  . . .

. .  the coast line and the sea have such strength of character – it’s the factor of the effect of the light on the transient nature of the elements.

Withdraw directly north by about 20 kms,  into the land of the Saint Chinian AOC, a ‘forest’ of eucalyptus (La Forêt des Eucalyptus) has threads itself quickly though the dominant pines near Cessanon-sur-Orb. More a wood than a forest but the title is attractive anyway. The Greeks discovered the use of the essence of the gum for its disinfectant properties, as well as, a decongestant for  respiratory problems. Juniper, holm oak and sweet chestnut also form part of the taller layered growth.

The leggy effect of stem in relief against massed greenery makes a visually pleasing composition for me. Looking at close quarters through the pines, a sense of stillness pervades . . .

. .  stems with personality.

The foliage of the eucalypt is delicate against the sky, with the very young leaves still rounded before becoming elongated in this specific variety . .  the stems look photogenic . . .

. . .  a greenscape (what a ghastly phrase) but nevertheless descriptive of the garrigue/maquis vegetation lying below the hills . . . softness, rounded forms and varying in texture.

Pines become sculptural graphic elements as the lines of foliated stems rise higher and higher leaving bare branches at the lower levels in the shade. Arbutus now shows colourful and seasonal fruits . . .  firm spherical rounds . . .

. . .  a few trees are graceful in habit – absolutely self contained.

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.

Oh the black cross of a ship.
Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.

Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire. Pablo Neruda  Here I Love You   Aqui Te Amo

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