Saturday, December 14, 2013

The rabbit and the fox in the Camargue

"We both know that Ben runs like a rabbit when but did you ever notice that Kipling trots like a fox?" Remi asks as we watch our dogs from a distance. We all are winding towards the Étang de Vaccarès, the sprawling lagoon that tears a hole in the middle of the Camargue, the region that runs from Arles to the sea. It is wild country and so welcomes two savage beasts like the puppers. And as it has been over a week since they have been able to get in a decent walk due to rolling, bitter Mistral winds, they are both in peak form.

Bound up energy bursts forth in all directions. Yes, Ben's back paws swing from side to side when he is skipping joyfully, just like a bunny. But Kipling is truly unpredictable and is transformed as soon as he is released from the boundaries of his in town existence. The Collie in him shines out to the tip of his tail, which remains flipped proudly over his back. When he spies birds or chevreuil - of which there are many here in one of Europe's largest protected natural areas - he springs straight up in the air, four paws off the ground. He is so quick that my camera can barely catch him. Luckily, the birds outsmart him every time, swooping and swirling in mockery.

Kipling takes off on his own adventure (although he is getting better, much better at not running away entirely)...

 ...but Ben tends to stay near as he always has. I see his contentment in his sniffs and Golden smile.

Amazingly, the water is not too cold for either of them and I can see that both appreciate its stillness, so different from the Mediterranean's restless surge. They exchange land for lake easily, appropriate in this countryside where the limits between the two are often blurred.

They tread lightly over fisherman's nets spread amidst the garrigue to dry in the sun, inhaling a symphony of scent as they go.

And then they run and run again, a physical declaration of Hello. We call them over and over, just to have the pleasure of seeing them find us from far.

Remi and I wander quietly, each with a camera in hand. But my gaze is too fixed on the dogs and my sweetheart to notice much else.

 What joy they give me, our little band of four. 

When we make the whistle that it is time to head back, they follow; stopping each in turn to take a last look at this newly loved place before hopping into the back of the car to settle down to rest. I know what they cannot. That we will return because we can so easily. How fortunate we are to live in such a truly special place where beauty could be - and yet is never - taken for granted. Not by us. Not by a long shot.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend. I am heading out to assist Remi for a photo shoot in Lyon and should be back in a few days (any restaurant recommendations? The lovely Ann Mah has made some excellent ones here or see her book, which would, indeed make a wonderful present)...

Not to worry, Ben and Kipling will be in amazing hands...

And no, I haven't forgotten the holidays entirely, we just haven't had the luxury of giving ourselves over to them yet. But if you are looking for a little celebratory libation this weekend, why not give a Lavender Ice a go? This evening's interpretation was made with Irish Whiskey and I can tell you that it might be better than the original. 


PS. We like to call Kipling "Scrappy Jaloux" because he is both scrappy and yes, jealous. So this is for him...


  1. Oh those lovely dogs, it is so joyful to see their ease and beauty. And look at the blue sky! Your Blues should at least partly be blown away. I know you've heard it already a couple of times, but I can't help thinking to myself: "You are so lucky!" ( Though I guess you must have also worked for your luck! (; )
    Thank you for sharing it!

  2. As I have said about Karina and would say about your first photo of Kipling, it's all in the ears! And you have captured so much here, about loving both the wild and tame sides of our dogs, about the beautiful blue of the landscape.... about how the luck of having a beloved sometimes hits us like a bolt.....

    (And after her comment about wanting a dog, we should get Dominique over to this post, pronto!)

  3. These fine photos of the noble canines made me smile.

  4. I could not envision my life without my four legged friends.This was such a lovely tribute to Ben and Kippling.

  5. Francine and your other ardent followers have said all my thoughts and more.....what joy our doggies give us....the pics are magical..and on a snowy and cold nite here in Montreal...they truly warm my heart.

  6. Beautiful pictures of the land, water and dogs. Does the etang run out to the Sea? I assume yes. We really have not spent any time in the Camargue except for several visits to Aigue Morte. Have fun in Lyon.

  7. And hey, by the way I just saw that you have also posted a song of the Donny Hathaway Live Record. (I did not see it before because my FlashPlayer broke down) This record belongs also to my collection and is one of my favourites!

  8. Oh, you and the pups are so lucky for this lovely romp - can you imagine your life in town if you didn't have this?? I love the contrast between their relaxing and hunter selves in this series; one moment trotting and smiling, the next, erect and chest puffed out! Again, what a lovely treat for all four of you! Miss you...

  9. Kipling and Ben burst with energy when they roam freely outdoors and create ideas for you and Remi appearing in wonderful photos and writing.

    Is following Ben and Kipling like the idea of writing?

    The constraints create the art form as one artist says.

  10. What a beautiful place. Have fun in Lyon. I hope you have some time to enjoy the holidays.

  11. You have given me the best Christmas present ever with this glorious photo essay about romping with Ben, Kipling and Remi...thank you!! You four know how to live! I will save it and savor it often. I agree that you are fortunate to live near such beautiful places to play, but bravo to you and Remi for being two artists-adventurers-dog lovers who have discovered and know how to fully enjoy those places. Merry Christmas to all four of you, dear Heather. (I will be out of touch until the 27th or so, when we return from a road trip for Christmas in the Bay Area with kids, spouse and partner and, of course, Henry and Bob.)

  12. I just adore your sweet rabbit & fox!

  13. Beautiful and heart warming post and photos. The "band of four" brings tears to my eyes.

  14. OH, I just loved this post. My favorite is the photo of Ben on the end of the dock - so serene. I hope you have a lovely time in Lyon...OH SO CLOSE! :)

  15. Cute babies there Heather... and the big one's not bad either... ;)
    Enjoy your time away... xv

  16. What a lovely winter adventure you and your family had. So sweet. I love being bundled up and heading out to explore on a cold day. There is something so romantic about. Like going to the beach a few days after a snowstorm.

    Enjoy your Lyon getaway!

  17. Spent Christmas with friends and their noble beasts - how animals complete a family is a mystery to me, but it is absolutely true, and quite wonderful. Bises.

  18. Got to spend Christmas with friends and their noble beasts - how animals complete a family is a mystery, but so very true. And wonderful. XXXX


Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at)