Posts Tagged ‘forest’

At a time when weather in the northern US has been a hot topic (or a cold topic), “Weathered” is an apt theme for the Photo Challenge.  In the annoying tradition of making a word a part of speech it wasn’t meant to be, those of us in that part of the country have been getting (winter) weathered like crazy.

But my example comes from a summer day in the Vosges Forest of France, a place where you don’t expect to come across a chair of any sort while following a trail.  This chair obviously had weathered more than a few nights in the forest and come out the worse for wear, something with which we who’ve experienced many days and night of sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures might identify!

© janet m. webb

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“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
~Leonora Carrington

© janet m. webb

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Finally, fundamentally fabulous, fantastic French forest fungus.  Fun!  🙂

Yes, alliteration has struck again.  If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know that where I go in France, I’m deep in the Vosges forest.  This is where we walk the dogs each day.

© janet m. webb

Although we love to hunt for (edible) mushrooms, much of what we find is, although fun to see, not edible and might even be poisonous.  Despite not being edible, fungi can be eye-catching, as I think you can tell from these photos.

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© janet m. webb 2016

It’s been another beautiful day in the Franche-Comte, possibly one of the most under-rated and unknown, at least to Americans, areas of France.  Hills, mountains, and forests characterize the area; the eponymous Comte cheese is one of the delicious attractions. If you click on the above link and find Lure on the map, you’ll know basically where I am.

Each day we walk in the forest, suitably attired to keep the numerous ticks from attaching to any part of us.  The dogs must be carefully checked when we return.  The last time I was here, we searched each time for mushrooms, death trumpets which, despite their name, are not only harmless but delicious. Unfortunately, they aren’t in season. (I’d include a link, but as I’m on my iPad, I’m horribly frustrated by its lack of ease and cooperation. Just trust me: they’re difficult to find and well worth the effort.)

Anyway, here are a few shots of what it’s like here.

Copyright janet m. webb 2016

copyright janet m. webb 2016

Not everything is large. On moss-covered logs, you’ll see a microcosm of the surrounding forest.

copyright janet m. webb 2016

Bonjour!

Forest Rain

Posted: October 11, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

Forest Rain

Heavy grey clouds pull
    curtains of rain across the sky,
    tangling them in forest trees;
    too late for most in the death march
        of the crisp, brown ferns,
    skies’ tears for the departed.

Mushroom spores glory in the glut of moisture,
tiny frogs break out in song,
orange slugs lie fatly quiescent.

Multi-colored carpet of leaves lies cold and sodden,
    muffling all sounds
    save the constant drip of raindrops 
    and the parachuting acorns.


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This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

The France most people know is that of the south:  pastel homes and shutters, chèvre, Provencal linens, the Mediterranean; theglamorous France of movies.  The France we’re visiting is the France of stone houses, forests, cows and their cheese; of a difficult existence gained through hard work.  We’re near Mélisey,  ( http://www.francethisway.com/places/a/melisey-haute-saone.php; http://www.maplandia.com/france/franche-comte/haute-saone/lure/melisey/).photo 1(74)

Europe is in the grip of rainy weather as we arrive, but we manage a walk during a break in the rain.  It seems to be still raining, but it’s simply water dripping from trees and plants.

The perfect companion

The perfect companion

The path (road) beckons.  The only sounds we hear besides the rain are the sounds of birds and insects.  The forest is completely peaceful, even though we know animals are everywhere, even wild boar.  I’d rather not come across one of those while walking, although if one walked by at the bottom of the yard, as happened once before, I would enjoy seeing it from the safely of the house.

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The forest here is similar in many ways to a rain forest and although fire was a consideration earlier in the summer, now there is plenty of rain.  The moss thrives.  There’s a feel of Tolkien or Lewis in the silent, verdant growth and in the stones littered everywhere.  You can feel the Celtic influences here and a certain fey-ness in the air at times.  Eking out a farming existence here is difficult due to thick growth, rocks left from glaciers and thin soil.

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Mushrooms, raspberries and blackberries grow nearby.  The dogs love raspberries and compete with their humans for the ripe ones. Several of the dogs are more discriminating than others, dexterously eating on the ripe berries, while at least one indiscriminately grabs berry, leaves and stem, then spits them out.  The lovely ceramic or glass pots that we get yogurt in work perfectly for filling with the small, sweet berries. Flowers brighten the area that’s crammed with ferns and all sorts of (mostly) green growing things.  Not far along the road, we see beehives and, stopping, hear the sound of thousands of humming bees.

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Across from the hives we find a gigantic ant hill, about 2 – 2 1/2 feet tall and quite wide.  Ants are vital to the forest life and are protected.

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There are a few more days of rain in the forecast.  No chance of the moss drying out for some time.

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 If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. 

~Henry David Thoreau