Fifty shades of beige
Last week when I drove home from England, as I went south, the closer to home I got, the browner and drier the landscape became. Shades of beige dominated. Fields of corn which at this time of year would usually be a rich gold, were pale wheaten, seemingly bleached by weeks of fierce summer sun. Sunflower fields awaiting harvesting stood darkly brown, with their strangely haunting, hanging heads. I drove along miles of verges, looking more like straw than grass. Trees stood with leaves crispy and brown, I fear some are dying of thirst. The 2022 heatwaves and drought have been brutal and it shows.
Since coming to live in France my awareness has developed of how impacted farming communities are by weather and climate. I grew up and lived until we left the UK, in a town in the most congested part of Britain and my knowledge of farming was shallow. Here we are right in the heart of a rural community, farms surround us and my appreciation of the natural world couldn’t fail to awaken.
Sharing our life with dogs means we are out in the countryside, all year around, in all weathers. We walk every day, moving through the seasons, each one bringing its own challenges and joys. I’ve been craving cooler days and rain. Come February I’ll be wanting warmth. But I’m going to enjoy winter.
The first thing I wanted to do when I got back from my trip and long drive south was to walk the dogs. Not only to be with them, but to get out into the countryside I’ve come to love and call home.
We had rain at the weekend. At times it was torrential and Michel and I smiled, sensing the earth revive, the aquifers recharge.
I’ve just come in from a late afternoon walk around the pond. After the rain I wondered if the water level – at the lowest ever known by Jean Marie who’s lived here forever – had risen. I came down the path with Albert Claude bouncing behind me. Autumn sun glinted on water that looked about the same as last week. Lots more days of rain are needed yet.