Duras - a small French village and castle on a hilltop in Bordeaux. A bunch of flowers and a bike, and magnificent views
We walked with our heads wrapped in scarves or shirts, to protect them from the noon-day sun. We were walking from Plum Village to Duras - a journey that would take twenty minutes by car, but would takes us a half day on foot. 
Maybe it was a pilgrimage of sorts. The other ladies and I had been spending a lot of time meditating recently, waking each morning to the sound of the bell, and spending each day in contemplation. And yet, it was not so much a contemplation of the future, but of the present moment. And walking like this, sense sharpened, mind focused, I felt like the Earth was a jewel - so bright and colourful. 
It was beyond enjoyable, to walk, and look, and talk. 
In the middle of nowhere, we happened upon a garden full of roses, lush with foliage, and hidden right in the centre: a treehouse. 
Further on, the wheat fields had been rolled into hay bales. And in the distance was Duras, a medieval fortified city on a hilltop. From one end to the other, it is only fifteen minutes on foot. 
It was market day, and the main part of the village was awash with colour! Locally grown potatoes, cabbages, carrots and peas everywhere, squeezed between those were olive sellers, lavender soaps and a very pungent cheese cart. 
After gathering all the necessary supplies: bread, radishes, butter and cheese, we sat in a park and ate and some of us read poetry from books we had brought in our rucksacks. 
Hay bales in French wheat fields.
Sign for the Jardin de Boissonna - a notable garden in Bordeaux, France
Jardin de Boissonna - rose bushes
Lost in the roses of the Jardin de Boissonna
Roses and cute little wooden houses at the Jardin de Boissonna
A treehouse hidden in the woods of Bordeaux, France
Market place in Duras - with spices, vegetables, garlic, olives, wine and truffles.
Market place at Duras, with a stall selling all types of olives!
French cheeses at the market place of Duras
The beautiful streets and gardens of Duras, near the castle, in Bordeaux


by mary szybist

How many moments did it hover before we felt
it was like nothing else, it was not bird
light as a mosquito, the aroma of walnut husks
while the girl’s knees pressed into us
every spear of us rising, sunlit & coarse
the wild bees murmuring through
what did you feel when it was almost upon us when
even the shadows her chin made
never touched but reached just past
the crushed mint, the clover clustered between us
how cool would you say it was
still cool from the clouds
how itchy the air the girl tilted & lurched & then
we rose up to it, we held ourselves tight
when it skimmed just the tips of our blades
didn’t you feel softened
no, not even its flickering trembled
A picnic with friends in Duras - with bread and cheese and radishes from the market