Sunday, May 20, 2007


In an earlier blog, named Geography lesson, I evoked the Picard bridge at Pont-en-Royans. [Click here to display this earlier message.] At the Vercors end of the bridge, there's a charming bar-restaurant named the Picard, which I've been patronizing ever since I settled at Choranche. The proprietor, Jean-Noel, has been a friend of mine for years. A few months ago, Jean-Noel purchased an adjoining café, which means that the new Picard has doubled in size, as you can see here:

When I went in there recently, after taking my dog for a sunny walk alongside the Bourne, the girl behind the bar offered a big bowl of cool water to Sophia, who lapped it up enthusiastically, as if she were dying of thirst. The truth of the matter, I believe, is that my dog simply takes pleasure in discovering that friendly people in such places don't forget her. When we were moving around Provence recently with Natacha and Alain, they would have on hand, in the back of their automobile, a supply of water for Sophia. And it was a joy to see the dog downing water enthusiastically at every stop in our excursion.

It sounds silly to say so, but I find it's in fact a great joy for human observers to give water to a thirsty dog. It's one of those simple moments when you know you're doing the right thing. And it's so much better when the dog actually reveals that he/she was truly thirsty.

Plants, too, can behave similarly. In my message called Gifts from Provence, I showed a photo of a tiny fig tree that Natacha and Alain gave me. [Click here to display this earlier message.] Well, it downs water like a thirsty dog. Sometimes I notice that its leaves are drooping, and I rush to quench its thirst. Half an hour later, the tree is beaming with new-found vigor.

Strangely, my donkeys don't seem to have any particular desire to drink water. For years, whenever I've left a tub of water in Moshé's paddock, he immediately strives to turn it upside-down. I gather that the donkeys get the liquid they need through the huge quantities of grass and weeds that they're eating constantly.

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