The Eye Of The Beholder

Our buddleia is covered with butterflies in the morning.  I stand under the bush sniffing the sweet scent that brings the velvety creatures so close that I could touch them, if I had the time to be really patient.  I wish I did, but the kitchen calls me insistently.

We have 21 people coming for dinner tomorrow, to celebrate American Independence Day.  So naturally I’m a little busy.  Later we’ll see how beautifully it all turned out, but right now we’re up to our ears in pots and pans and tomorrow seems stunningly soon.  At moments like this, or really just for no special reason at all, it’s a calming thing to contemplate the beauty around me.  It’s a celebration of my independence: instead of doing dishes I’ll take a moment to watch butterflies.

We can’t see the Dentelles de Montmirail from here, so I can’t choose to be mesmerized by them today, but we did see them recently, and they were just this spectacular.

When it’s almost too hot to eat the garden offers up bowls full of flowers.  Almost too hot, I said, because of course we always do eat, even when it’s hard to find anything that’s ready to eat in a kitchen where everything is simmering and roasting.  You might wonder why I’m roasting and simmering when it’s about 900° out, and frankly, so do I, but that’s just how it is.  Oops, that extra 0 was a Freudian slip, but I think I’ll just leave it there, cuz that’s how hot it feels.

And when there’s nothing particular to eat in a kitchen swimming in food, I can at least remember this beautiful plate of who knows what.  If you know what the wrinkly green ball please do tell, although I don’t think it’s edible..

As the day goes on and heats up to its full summer potential, I move more and more lethargically.  But when the lavender fields are slow to bloom, the poppy fields step right up.  Everything in its time, that’s the lesson there, and beauty has its own time zone.   Yeah, that’s my excuse.

And finally, when all these beautiful vegetables, and many others like them, have jumped into various dishes and platters, we’ll be ready to welcome our guests and think about independence.  In the meantime, if you feel like helping with the dishes, come on over.  But if you’re too busy watching butterflies, well, I can’t say I blame you.

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Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France

5 Comments on “The Eye Of The Beholder”

  1. Knicke Says:

    The green wrinkly thing looks very like an osage orange or hedge apple. As far as I know there aren’t any in France, and definitely aren’t edible. However the fruit is said to have other uses, including insect repellent!

    Happy July 4, stay cool!

  2. Ray Says:

    thank you

  3. Anita Says:

    Yes, that is indeed an osage orange, the tree is also known as a bois d’arc (pronounce here in Texas as Bow..long o…d’arc). Another name for the fruit, and the one I knew growing up, is a horse apple. So it is at least good for horses to eat. Not for humans.

  4. Abra Says:

    Osage orange! That’s something I’ve heard of but never seen. Google doesn’t show me that it lives in France, but we have that photograph to prove that it does. Thanks, Gentle Readers!

  5. MickeyM Says:

    Yep. Definitely an Osage orange. Maclura pomifera. A relative of the mulberry. Probably planted in France as an ornamental for its weird and inedible (by humans) but not poisonous fruit.

    It was used by Native Americans as a wood for making bows – hence the French name, bois d’arc. Later, settlers spread it around the central US because it made great hedges for livestock since it has nasty spines all over the branches.

    It is extremely rot resistent wood, so is still used for fence posts. Also, because of its density, makes excellent firewood – much as madrone does here in the Pacific NW. A few instrument makers are starting to use the wood for guitars, mandolins and harps.

    The jury is still out on the insect repellent part. People place green ones around doors, basement windows, etc. in case they do repel insects. I remember seeing them around northern Illinois as a child. The fruit definitely has an insect-repellent-type smell.


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