When the barley was still growing waist high surrounding Les Pierres, it provided the perfect hiding spot for many wildlife, or so we assume.
Often we would sit at our viewpoint, longing to start peacefully with a cup of coffee and the concert of the waking day, only to be startled by an ominous sound, immediately followed by one of our cats escaping the fields, impressed by yet another encounter with a creature outlandish to them, but never enough so to safely stay with us for longer than to be reassured. Our parenting must have equipped them with the same curiosity that we immensely enjoy ourselves, always taking a gander behind every corner to see if the world is different there.
Whether it is due to the relatively warm winter or corona keeping the hunters inside this spring, we have noticed that the deer population has increased quite a bit, much to our delight. Seeing an antler looming in the swaying grain, of a deer that has mastered the ostrich technique of you-can’t-see-me-if-I-can’t-see-you, isn’t just a very funny vision, it moves us to our core. This is why local French countrymen refer to us as ‘écologistes’ and they say that word with such disdain you just know that we will never see eye to eye on things that really matter to them, like their civil right to hunt, acquired during the French Revolution. We get their cultural sentiments, but it’s not a mutual understanding.
Like the born pacifist I am, refusing military service when that duty surfaced in my youth, choosing to perform civil service instead, I wear their sobriquet with honour. You won’t find any broken rifle symbols at Les Pierres though, mainly because our territory is too small to legally prohibit hunting on our property. Purely by chance we did plant lots of substitutes for that iconic emblem and they are proudly beginning to blossom now: our deep purple Gladioli.
Named after the Latin word “gladius”, meaning sword, their shape resembles just that. Because of their association with Roman gladiators, the ‘Flowering Swords of Les écologistes aux Pierres’ symbolize strength and integrity. A pointless message probably, but beautiful nevertheless.