Inspired by my several visits to Montredon Park in Marseille, I decided to explore the outskirts of it. That turned out to be more demanding than my usual hikes in the Calanques. The park is contained by the Calanques’ mountains and its outer borders will let you know that – ever steeper paths taking you higher and higher over rough rocky ground. Deeply rewarding as the world of flora and fauna becomes wilder and quieter.
One can enter the Equestrian Centre as a visitor and walk around freely, I discovered. You don’t have to tell me twice. The horses are treated and trained with respect, as they deserve to be, and to me they seem content and smiling. These wonderful animals are fully used to be handled by people and look at you with quiet curiosity. Nevertheless, they remain wild at heart as when things become too much, like an unskilled rider being too rough, they rather jump in the air and go their own way. That’s the freedom they should have.
The jardin botanique receives increasingly appreciation from people who discover it as a welcome relief from the pressure of the pandemic. What can be more nourishing than the beauty of nature in this strangest of times? You never know what plant is flowering and for how long. The Peony bushes are now almost unrecognisable, only the seedpods indicate where formerly their blossoms had been. A flower’s life is short but exquisite.
My favorite Iris plot seems late in coming to blossom this year, few plants have flowers. You find the Iris along many roads around Marseille, they look quite wild and blossom early and wither quickly as they grow in sunny and dry conditions. The plot I know however is part of a small park and grows in the shade of trees, giving the flowers deep yet vivid colors.
And so, the weather turns sunnier and sunnier in this Spring. Although, a week back, freezing nights killed the buds of fruit trees and grape vines in several areas of France. There’s not much prospect of a real harvest. This year there will be worldwide discussion and decision making on our climate crisis. Let the wise and the insightful be heard and decide.
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