Monday, 16 May 2011

Flickering images

I'm thinking about a place and my experience of that place that is clear in my mind, but evades depiction. It flickers. Something about being on the edge, on several edges.

The edge of France. Behind a Jura farmhouse, a path winds upwards through a wood and somewhere in the wood you are in Switzerland.

The edge of language fluency. The French I once spoke well enough that inattentive southerners might think me from the north, but lack of practice means that now I grope for words.

The edge of an ancient tradition, the language of plants. I would go out and gather, for jamjars on windowsills, wild flowers from the many that grew beside that path. A return to childhood, tripping through the woods with a basket. For all my ignorance of their names and properties, a deep attraction and peace in their presence. In the years since then I've learned more of their names, in French and in English, and some elements of medical herbalism as long practiced in both France and England.

The edge of my vision. On the last evening, the shadow of a deer emerging from the forest to run across the field behind the house, so fast I can never be sure it was real and not a trick of the light.

A time and place that flickers brightly at the edge of my heart.

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This is included in Language and Place On the Edge, Issue 6 of the >Language >Place blog carnival, edited by Michelle Elvy at Glow Worm

8 comments:

Vivien said...

Beautiful description of a poetic vision that one remembers but can't quite pin down.

Jan said...

Stunning, Jean. Both the photo and the prose.

liliannattel said...

Beautiful photo and what you wrote as well.

Fire Bird said...

the edge of memory, beautifully evoked

Dale said...

Gorgeous, Jean.

Walter Bjorkman said...

beautiful image and a description that matches . . .

Dorothee Lang said...

Enjoyed a lot. Made me think of my own lost knowledge of French, which i learned in school, to the point of conversations, discussions, writing short essays. Now most is gone. Or to say it in French: Maintenant la plupart es allé...

michelle elvy said...

Love the vibrant image here combined with the reflection. Such color added to the Blog Carnival this month, Jean!