Thursday, 21 April 2011

Paris Eye 22/30 - In praise of ripeness


Prior to this stay in France, I did not know what a meadow was. There is a rakish, sensuous quality to a meadow. We don't have meadows in Australia. We use the term 'field' if we want to indicate an area of pasture somewhat gentler than the norm. Mostly, however, we have paddocks.


Now, don't get me wrong. I love paddocks. I love their long vistas, their rolling slopes, their dryness, greyness and their somewhat patchy quality. But we don't do 'meadows'.


Firstly, it is not conceivable in our climate, where the sun bakes the soil rock hard, and where grass has to be grey and wirey to survive. Secondly, it would be at odds with our concept of land management. We don't have swathes of pastureland that we allow to take its time. That we allow go to flower. Just because it can. And because it is beautiful.

We itch to get out there with the ride-on mower and slash the lot into the silage pit.


No. We don't do meadows. Which is such a shame. As meadows are achingly beautiful. My eyes and ears were filled to the brim. My mind was at odds with my brain, as it expanded to encompass this foreign concept.

Here was pasture land encouraged to take its time, to fray at the edges, to bring forth variety, and maturity. Like the old beatniks of yore. Philosophy students from the '50s with a wisp of beard and a satchel with a copy of something existential by Satre, lying on a park bench with legs encased in caramel-corduroy thrown lazily over the slats.


All these photographs were taken as I meandered around Parc de Bagatelle out in the Bois de Boulogne.

13 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, SO beautiful, Julie. How wonderful for you, and how wonderful for us to share your joy along with these lovely meadows.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ann said...

Just beautiful.

wanderer said...

This is completely evocative and transporting. And what a gorgeous looking day - I can almost feel that spring sun and lie on the grass and drift away, and give thanks - to you!

J Bar said...

Really like seeing all those wild flowers in the meadows.

Dianne said...

Oh! I just want to be in a meadow! Beautiful photos Julie - it feel like i'm right there.

Mary Ann said...

When we lived in Germany, one of our neighbors explained to us that a section of her garden was neither unkempt nor neglected--it was a meadow, a place for nature to simply be.

In the years since, I've seen more of that aesthetic flourish in residential landscape schemes in the US--the preference for native plants, wild flowers. I wish we had more of it in Beirut, as water is scarce and local plants are far more reasonable in such conditions.

But as to a full, huge meadow--I don't think I'll ever see it in the city.

Thérèse said...

Looking at your pictures, I realize now how Paris can be green. To see things through other people's eyes brings a lot. Thks.

Jo said...

Oh meadows are so inviting and as in Oz, we in Africa don't do meadows either. Manly wheat fields and fields with animals grazing. Thanks for sharing these with us, Julie. Have a wonderfully blessed Easter. Jo

Joan Elizabeth said...

Well you might not do meadows but I do. As Mary Ann says - a section of the garden deliberately left to grow its own wild way ... I cut just once a year then let the forget me nots, violets, buttercups, clover, ferns and agapanthus grow. It is deliberate not me being lazy.

And I have taken a similar position on a grander scale out at Whistlers Rest ... I have only cut paths to give us access and to reduce bushfire risk and the rest is left to nature to manage. I agree this would be more termed bush than meadow but is the same concept. I await with eagerness to see what next spring delivers.

Joe said...

Julie, your wonderful turn of phrase does justice to these magical photograph. Simply eloquent.

GW Bill Miller said...

The nice thing about these spaces is that they are located within the city.

You remind me of something which confuses me. What exactly is a field, a lawn, a yard, a garden, a meadow, a pasture, a moor, a heath, and a swail? I know what comes to my mind, but I think the terms vary according to region.

Julie said...

Golly, Bill, I could make a fair fist of most of those label, but 'swail' leaves me scratching my head. Shall go have a google.

Christina Klas said...

Beauty and peace. This spot is where I want to be right now. Lovely.