Along for the ride:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lozere Intime

One late-summer's evening. The day had been oppressively hot and the thunderstorm was threatening to arrive, from one minute to the next, at the edge of the mountain. Already, the first lightning bolts ripped the dark veil of the sky. The crickets, everywhere, leading the deafening and relentless percussion. A dog calls out to another, releasing a chorus of barking that pierces the obscurity, responding to an invisible menace. The air is heavy, even as a gust of bad omens lifts the fronds of leaves. Lower down the valley, it must have really rained already...
The insects go quiet and the wind becomes more violent. The storm is cresting the hill, lightening flashes bleaching the false night. Not one solitary thunder-clap but a continuous roll, worrisome, like a an army advancing in the distance. The wind gusts accentuate, the air is noticeably cooling. Now, suddenly, one, then two impacts on the dry ground. Then a hundred, a thousand; from everywhere hail explodes, perforating thick foliage, striking randomly, powerful and glacial.
Better run for cover and wait it out. The surrounding vegetation humps it's back. Surely the ditches will stay white until morning.
The plums were just ripening, too; if we'd known we would have picked them sooner...

photo by Jean-Francois Salles
written by Michel Molling


  1. What a beautiful description of a storm rolling in. I love the thunder's sound like a marching army. Ominous for sure. The hail is amazing in the summer. Fortunately we have been spared.

  2. Jean, when I first saw this photo I thought it was a beautiful winter scene. The text leads us to understand that it is late August in the high country. I met the photographer. He and my husband collaborated recently on a show. Imagine being at the right place and time to capture this steaming/icy image? I like the description as well, although I just did a "quick and dirty" translation.

  3. What's going on there?

    Can you ship any of that cold stuff this way?

  4. Wonderfully evocative. I've never heard of either writer or photographer. The web is a miraculous place peopled by miraculous communicators. You're one of them. Thanks for introducing me.

  5. @eloh, This region is quite high up so once a thunderstorm breaks the back of the summer heat, it's over. Temperatures drop, especially at night and mid to late August is usually the time of transition.
    Friko, It's a very out-of-the-way region. Both photographer and writer have a passion for their area, which shows in their work. They have collaborated on a book called Lozere Intime, hence my title.

  6. Ahh the Lozere... a land of extremes, but mostly extreme beauty, in a sort of harsh and desolate form... can't wait to head back down that way ! What a storm !

  7. As usual the Fun Police here seem to be stopping me seeing the picture - but i didn't really need to with such a fantastic description

    Grrr you talented types...