One of my favorite places in Uzes is the Vallée de l’Eure. I’ve written about the spring that feeds Pont du Gard, the swans, the STEPS, and various other things that amuse me there.
The woods are quite thick along the winding trails in the Vallée de l’Eure. Often it is difficult to see more than a few yards ahead. It’s part of the charm of being there. This particular day, when I saw the men in the trees, I had left the apartment with the intention of taking only a short walk.
I had planned to get a lot accomplished that day and the walk was just the first of many things on my “to do” list. It was right after I got to the last of the STEPS that lead down to the park that I heard men talking in the distance. Walking slowly, as usual, because the path is very rocky and uneven, I intentionally headed towards the voices. Of course, I had no idea what they were saying. They were speaking in French. By the time I could hear them more clearly, it was obvious the sounds were coming from the trees.
There they were! Dangling on ropes up in the air. I couldn’t get there fast enough. My curiosity was killing me!
Then I realized I didn’t have my camera!
“What!” says me to myself. “What a great story for my blog: ‘Finding Tarzan in the Jungles of France.'”
Reality hit. I had an appointment in less than an hour. How could I get back to the apartment, grab my camera, run back to the park, take pictures, go back to the apartment, change clothes, then be on my way, and on time? Impossible!
At that moment It was like there was a “good angel” on my right shoulder saying: “Forget it, you’ve made a commitment. You have to forget about this story for your silly blog and get on with your life.” A “bad angel” on my left shoulder was saying: “Forget, Hell! This is a great story. Don’t be stupid.”
So what did I do? You’re looking at it.
Tree climbing, or hanging out in trees, is becoming a popular pastime, especially in France. The abundance of lush forests and people looking for new and different ways to spend time outdoors have created a new industry . The young men I met are utility workers for their “real jobs” and they run a business for tourists on the side. From what I could understand, since they spoke little English, and … you know me and my French … their business is quite good. They provide the ropes, harnesses and expertise to get you up into a tree. Plus they set up the tree “boats” where you can spend as much time as you’re willing to pay for to “hang” out.
Sounds like fun to me!!
Prayer of a Tree
To The Wayfarer,
Ye who pass by and would raise your hand against me, harken ere you harm me.
I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun.
My fruits are refreshing draughts,
quenching your thirst as you journey on.
I am the beam which holds your house,
the board of your table,
the bed on which you lie,
and the timbers of your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe,
the door of your homestead,
the wood of your cradle,
the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty.
Ye who pass by,
listen to my prayer; harm me not.
–reportedly from the book “Spanish Sunshine” by Elinor Elsner, circa 1925, and was a notice found on a tree in a park in Seville, Spain; posted by Ray on the Boards of the Native Tree Society