Panier of Plenty

Walking Home

The panier is seemingly empty, after a walk in the forest confirmed
that the arbousiers (strawberry trees) have not produced this year,
along with the noisetiers (hazlenut trees), and there is not even
enough humidity for mushrooms.

Yet although ‘empty handed’, I realise the knowledge I have gained
more than compensates for lack of a wild harvest. After 18 months here
I know what to look for and where; along with a greater understanding
of seasonal changes, I have many paths etched in my memory and as a
result of keen observation, ‘signs’ to look out for. Thus I can read
what is happening, and rather than feel like I am ‘missing out’, be
much more aware of where to direct efforts.

The chestnuts are falling, but this year I will leave them, harvesting
only the best and ripest when the time comes. There is only ever gain,
as knowledge turns to wisdom through direct experience – interacting
with the environment and waiting patiently to harness the moment when
conditions are right.

Walking home, my panier was filled to overflowing, as the dead wood
that cracked beneath my feet became the precious resource that will
light the first fire – a gift that I could easily ignore comes alive
when valued and stored. And as I take, I think what to give; my
thanks for the abundance that is always there to be reaped, for
in entering this world only footsteps away, I am transported to a
kingdom that teaches me each day – relating to the cycles that govern
life, as growth and decay both provide.

Gathering instead of hunting…

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This entry was published on September 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm. It’s filed under Country Life, Country Living, Environment, Europe, Expat, Forest, France, French Culture, Home, La Vie Quotidienne, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Leisure, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Pyrénées, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Thoughts, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Walking Home

  1. mesarapugs on said:

    A really beautiful, soul-filled post of observations and insights! The final picture is the harbinger of the changing seasons and the coming months. Interesting that fruit has not been produced as last year . . . indicators of the changing climate set out before our eyes! 🙂

    • Hello Mesara, thank you for your kind words as always… and you are coming to the end of the period of cosy fires, and enjoying being out frolicing amongst the tulips, admiring all the new growth! Viv xxxx

  2. peonyden on said:

    Hi Vivienne
    Nicely written.
    “After 18 months here I know what to look for and where; along with a greater understanding of seasonal changes, I have many paths etched in my memory and as a
    result of keen observation, ‘signs’ to look out for. Thus I can read
    what is happening…”
    I was going to say written like a true Aussie, but that misses the mark just a little bit.
    You are obvious a true person of the world now.
    Well done.
    Denis

    • Hi Denis, Imagine it is the same for you, wandering the paths you know so well (after more than 18 months of observation!) and discovering tiny treasures… good to be back in contact, and thank you. I think of Lyre bird feathers when I think of you… love the hairy snail orchid and the spider orchid, they are all wonderful. Have found a few in strange places here, one inside a neolithic dolmen in Spain, and in the Pyrénées when the snow was melting in spring…Viv xx

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