In an attempt to dispel gloomy thoughts I went across the hill today and into Switzerland.
The Jura mountains are stunning: forest cloaked ridges, limestone gorges and rough meadows still full of flowers and butterflies. I was so struck by the profusion of life in comparison to the flower-less verges of France just a few miles away, where the farmers seem to have grubbed up every hedge and strimmed every verge to the ground and new this year; they are actually scraping off the soil on field edges and verges to prevent any life interfering with the endless fields of maize.
In Switzerland the store cattle were out enjoying the sunshine and the heavy traditional cow bells played the mad gamelan music of a peaceful herd of ruminants. I took time to stop and watch a group chewing the cud under a wide oak tree and was reminded of this favorite poem by
William Henry Davies.
What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see when wood we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see in broad daylight
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty glance,
And watch her feet how they can dance,
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.