Panier of Plenty

A legacy…

Living giants

Picnic table

…that lives as the giants of the forest continue to grow, their
years surpassing those of the generations that have enjoyed the
shade offered by their branches.

Picnic area, Col d’Ouillat, Les Albères

Manel the berger (shepherd) planted many of the trees that stand a head
above the others in the canopy, and also left his mark in the form of
engraved stones that speak of his love for the forest: natural springs
cascade through heart-shaped channels and a table invites diners to be
seated on stone pedestals in a hidden glade.

Font Manel, a natural spring

Centrepiece, font Manel

The spring flows through a heart

Water flows underground

Table next to the font (spring)

Inscription dated 1863

A local legend, his memory is alive in the form of magnificent towering
sequoia or redwood, and in the rocks that he has breathed life into;
with verses in a strange mélange of latin languages, hearts and tree motifs.
He was known for his sense of humour (farce), his ability to climb trees,
and for his companion – a tame fox. Illiterate, he was aided by a local
school mistress who transcribed his poems.

Marking the way to the table, hidden in the forest

Marker stone, facing the heart with an arrow

Engraving detail, font

A tree and three leaves

Table detail

Another font, Col d’Ouillat

Font dated 1881

As he predicted “quand je mourais, la montagne pleurera”, upon his
passing ‘the mountain cried’ and it snowed for three days – an event
still considered ‘exceptional’. He lies in a private cemetery here on
the mountain, adjacent to a hamlet where trees frame the view to Canigou.

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This entry was published on May 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm. It’s filed under Art, Design, Environment, Forest, France, French Culture, Hiking, History, La Vie Quotidienne, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Pyrénées, Randonnées, Sculpture, Seasons, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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