Gina and I were out riding this week and as we were going through a particularly lovely village, I remarked on how even after three years I can’t believe I live here. She agreed, having come here from Germany as a child. Neither of us at present have any wish to return to our roots.
Its hay season here, and many of the fields have been stripped of grass to make what we would call haylage, which is the big plastic covered balls of dried hay. Long gone are the days of the hay huts where the loose hay was put in these small huts which must have been in practically every field in the valley, and all over Austria too. Now they are falling down – I expect someone will sooner or later start a hut preservation society. The hay here is about 20% grass, the rest is dandelions and any wild flowers that are growing. This is spectacular, from campion, ragged robin, ox-eye daisies, ringenblumen ( a huge yellow flower) purple bell flowers, and of course dandelions and buttercups the fields are awash with colour. The mountains are a few weeks behind us here in the valleys. But what a photographer’s dream! It just shows how using chemicals has ruined Britain’s flora. There isn’t the warm softness of an English summer’s morning here, because sometimes the vegetation isn’t so luxuriant, but the colours soften the outlook. The small of the meadow outside our window is indescribably wonderful and seems to encapsulate all the best of living here. One of the things I love at the moment is seeing the cows being taken in the big open trucks, pulled by tractors up into the alms/hills for the summer. You can see their noses poking over the tops, and they must be so pleased after all the months stuffing their faces in the dark stalls.
Then when it rains or thunders, you see the darkening clouds away over the mountains and can see the storms building. When I was teaching riding , from the outdoor school you could see the blackness and hear the distant thunder, and could anticipate you’d soon have to run. Often before the storms would hit, everything would go still, the temperature drop (and sometimes the pressure making my ears pop) and with a terrific gust of wind the storm would hit. The kids riding would never mind the lightning, but the rain would have them riding for cover. Then most lovely, after the storm, as the grounds soak up the moisture, the warmth sets clouds of steam and mist rising from the hills and woods. At times whole woods will disappear, then reappear as silhouettes , then go again. I never tire of watching this. And people say there is no God, no chance event could create such beauty, but a mind of unimaginable intelligence, humour, joy and creativity.