On vines, walls and empty fields

Umbrellas hanging in the sky
Umbrellas in the sky of the weekly grand marché in Sainte-Foy-La- Grande

We have reached the end of the summer, with visiting friends, the (ongoing) construction of the swimming pool, night markets, long walks in the fields and forests, in short the ongoing climatization of Tanja and Rick to France. So as we move into another autumn, today’s walk brings images and insights to share with you.

Brown earth after the wheat harvest is with us until sunflowers in the spring.

Despite this morning’s heavy rains the air is windy and fresh, clouds skittering across the sky. In one direction empty fields lie as far as the eye can see, fields that once contained bright sunflowers and waves of winter wheat. Now, once harvested, they are left with stubble and brown earth. These are beautiful in their starkness and their earthiness, but they provide little else to the autumnal landscape.

Grape vines after the harvest
After the harvest, we stand empty in our long rows.

On the other hand,  in the other direction are row after of vineyards, so different from the other crops. There is something about the vines that, having given up their fruit, have an ongoing presence and beauty as the leaves gently dry and turn colors.


The vines stay on as reminders of the recent harvest and as promises of future as yet unknown, untasted years. The local deer take refuge among the vinerows this time of year and glean whatever grapes are left. Likewise the doves and the pheasants. The vineyards are as they have been for centuries. Like the forests, they present a comforting permanence.

And speaking of permanence I also come across our local stone ruin, usually covered in vines and brambles.

Our local ruin
Opening in block wall of ruin
A window? A door?

Someone however has cleaned up around it, yielding views of windows, walls, and assorted tools heretofore hidden. Now they give us new fodder for imagining what this might have been used for, a house? A wine barn? We will never know, but it is always there and always changing, always challenging us to look at it differently and to appreciate its presence. With no one else around, the solitude gets filled with these fantastical journeys into remote times and people, in many ways very different from today, but in other ways very similar.

So with the completion of our garden and swimming pool in the next few weeks, La Busaneth will be ready for guests. We have a hardy family signed up for January and February as they look to purchase their own part of the Aquitaine. We will then be looking to greet cyclers and wanderers in the Spring before the high season of summer with all its revelries comes round again.

Happy autumn to all our friends, already known and yet to meet.