As much as I love lingering at café tables and in museums when I travel, I also like exploring the outdoors – taking hikes and getting off the usual paths to discover different types of beauty. On this particular walk near the Provençal village of Buoux with some hiking friends, I became very curious about the different plants and wildflowers along the way… I mean, VERY curious. To this day, I don’t know where this heightened curiosity came from or why my Inner Botanist decided to show up! (Because she’s not around home all that much!)
Besides the poppies, I asked our hiking guide about the various flowering plants we were passing. She must have left her Inner Botanist at a café table because she couldn’t identify any of them. So I took photo after photo, thinking I’d do some Internet research later on. But a photo here and a photo there turned into dozens and dozens of photos! I spent so much time knee-deep in the tall grasses with my camera that my hiking group often left me behind on the trail.
What are those flowers?
What is that creepy, alien-looking stuff on that tree?
And why are there snails on every blade of grass? Can you eat these? Are these the famous French escargots? (Turns out that they are wild small snails called cagaroulettes who love the sun, and while they aren’t the famous ones, you can eat them – thank you, Google).
When I chose to paint a photo from this day, the memories of this surprising, insatiable curiosity came flooding back. It made me think about those quotes about how travel opens up parts of yourself you never knew were there. And it also made me giggle thinking about how excited I was at the time but upon arriving home, I completely forgot about my intended botanical investigations. Once I got on the airplane, I must have left my Inner Botanist back at that little French café, too!
It’s extraordinary and surprising what emerges in oneself when you travel!
Have you had some unexpected “emergence” while travelling? I’d love to hear about your experiences so drop me a comment. Merci!
(“Poppies of the Luberon”; ink and watercolour miniature painting; 2.5″ x 2.5″; purchase info here.)