Uzerche, France (30 degrees Celsius at 7pm – now THAT’S the life!)
A thick layer of brown dust covered absolutely everything from the ground to the treetops. Not here in France – that was in Laos and was the first time I was so intensely aware of the colour brown. It was a multilayered orangey brown smothering every other hint of colour.
The next brown was Mongolia. Dry barren brown. As far as the eye could see.
Both were virtually monotone.
France’s browns hold no resemblance to the Asian browns. They are rich, a palette of variation.
There is dirt brown, dark brown, light brown and more brown.
Orange-brown and salmon-brown, not to mention red-brown.
There is rich brown, fertile brown, pinky brown and tan brown.
You would not believe
how much brown there is,
and I haven’t even started on
the yellow brown, golden brown, creamy brown or grey brown.
There is mousse brown and mouse brown,
and another like our house brown.
Leather brown, heather brown,
Chocolate brown, both dark and milk.
If you can see a shade of brown
I’m sure you’ll find it here. Brown.
And that’s just the browns. Then there are the greens. Deep dark almost black evergreens stand tall, towering above lighter brighter bushier trees, some taking on golden hues, some apple green, others more grass green. Olive green and khaki add themselves to the mix.
And that’s just the forest. Then there are roadside verges of varying intensity sprinkled with a rainbow of wildflowers and copious amounts of Queen Anne’s Lace. There are the massive fields of sunflowers. You’d think they’d be yellow, wouldn’t you? I’m sure they are, if you are on the right side of the sun, but when the flowers are facing away from you, they look green, fields of streaky vertical green.
There’s the delicate green of ferns sprouting in the shelter of shade, clumping together in gentle statement.
And there are corn plants, their bright green stalks supporting ears of promise. Long pointed leaves wave in unison, and peeking out the top, like smoke escaping from a tipi, feathery brown tips sway in harmony.
We’re back to brown.
But not only are the colours varied, the textures are too. From a distance the fields look like a smooth thick velvet. As you drive closer the colours start to dissipate into stripes reminiscent of corduroy. Finally, they appear more tweedlike, all the variations of colour flashing and mingling before the car window.
It’s a painting, a fabric, a musical.
It’s a celebration of life.
We walk along the road and stretch arms up to the sky. The sky is so blue, so deep, so far away. I had read about it, but without understanding. I had imagined, but failed to appreciate, because I did not know.
But here, today, we saw the azure French dome spread above us, sometimes clothed with wispy white cloud, mostly just deep blue. It truly is more magnificent than any cathedral, more expansive, more amazing, more mighty. After the pressing grey clouds of England, the blue reached far above. If you grew up here, I imagine you would feel cramped anywhere else in the world. Is it even possible to describe how far away the sky appeared?
Likewise, is it possible to describe the depth of God’s love? I have read about that, too, imagined and even experienced, but I rather suspect I do not fully appreciate, because I do not understand. Not fully.
So I will keep looking, keep being amazed, keep exploring His wonders and self, keep imagining, keep celebrating. I will live my life in colour.
Time on the road: too long for a day that started late
Distance covered: 4780km
Tags: 2008/09, postcard: France