Panier of Plenty

Solstice d’été

Rays enter the walled garden

Rays enter the walled garden

Coquelourde (Lychnis)

Coquelourde (Lychnis coronaria)

As the sun peaks his face over the mountain tops (here he is aligned
with the Col de l’Ouillat), his rays slowly creep across the vegetable
garden where I have breakfast laid out – the pergola is flooded with
light and the flowers back-lit, taking on an ethereal glow. The
raspberries are the first to receive his blessing, and then, in turn,
the cucumbers and beans, courgettes, strawberries and potatoes,
which are completed by a line of tournesols (sunflowers), placed
to greet his arrival.

Everything glistens with la rosée du matin – a heavy dew from a cool
starry night. The birds seemed particularly active, and their song so
close to the open window they were almost with us, their chorus
punctuated by the arrival of Mina on the roof, miaowing for an early
breakfast, and then by a cow (in distress?) higher up in the valley,
echoing. In the garden, the sound of the river is constant, its level
still high, reviving the trees that rely on its benevolent waters:
the hazelnuts, chestnuts, wild cherries and tilleuls (lime trees) that
line its banks.

Canigou almost bare

Canigou almost bare

Not a single cloud is visible after days (months!) of ‘changeable conditions’.
With my tray laden (and the first jar of homemade strawberry jam), I paused
en route to admire Canigou and was surprised at the sudden baring of his
slopes – pink tinged – as the last streaks of snow disappear, heralding
the start of the climbing season. On June 23rd the procession for the
fires of Saint Jean will make its way up the exposed rocky paths, carrying
the flame that has been kept constantly burning, igniting and uniting the
Catalan spirit – the ‘sang and or’ flows through the veins of this region:
reliant on the sun, renowned for blushing peaches and full-bodied wines,
the rhythm of life here revolves around ‘hot Mediterranean days’ and calls
many to its shores in search of the same.

As we enter the ‘summer period’, Roussillon fills with those who dream of
carefree days in the sun’s embrace. Turquoise waters gleam and the new
season ripens all that has been planted, bringing plenty as the harvest
is shared and festivals enliven each village – the warmth is welcomed and
nature revered.

“Avant la Saint-Jean pluie bénite
Après la Saint-Jean eau maudite.”

After a magical morning we found ourselves enshrouded by mist as a storm
brewed, bringing heavy rain that fell on the plains below – putting a damper
on the outside events planned for la fête de la musique. Meanwhile, ‘tucked
away on the mountainside’ we enjoyed a spectacular light show at crépuscule

The sun now obscured

The sun now obscured

And the mist rolls in...

And the mist rolls in…

A little alchemy as elements combine

A little alchemy as elements combine

Canigou hidden, sky ablaze

Canigou hidden, sky ablaze

The sun sinks behind the bergerie

The sun sinks behind the bergerie

The light fades

The light fades

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This entry was published on June 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm. It’s filed under Catalan, Climate Change, Country Life, Country Living, Environment, Europe, Expat, Fête, Festival, France, French Culture, Garden, La Vie Quotidienne, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Music, Nature, Photography, Pyrénées, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Summer, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Solstice d’été

  1. Four seasons in one day, just like the Highlands! Complete with rainbow and glorious heralding golden rays 🙂

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