In the Jura Mountains

There is an ineffable quality to this landscape in the French countryside. You can try to articulate what you see. You can try through metaphor, as countless poets have, to deliver truth to a reader by making the unfamiliar into the familiar, comparing the rolling hills to ocean waves, applying rationality to an experience way beyond rational thought.

This goes beyond words, beyond metaphors and fruitless attempts to translate the feeling of connection into language because this is about more than just a deep well of beauty — the sloping hills of this vineyard lined with 5 types of grapes, the limit of sight not a steel tower but instead the faint blur of mountains in the distance where the eye’s ability to see reaches its limit, the cows down the road at peace in the fields, at their task of eating grasses and doing the work of transforming the sun’s energy for us to utilize.

The taste of the cheeses made from their milk depends on the grasses they eat, which vary depending on the season. This diversity is not present in industrialized, standardized products. One’s taste for homogenized, industrialized products falls precipitously in a place like this, where you can literally taste the richness of the soil and grasses in your food, and where you incorporate the land — not a faceless corporate entity — into your body when you eat the local Comte cheese.

This is about a feeling of rootedness in a time of transitory connections and uprooted souls, seeing the totality of our connection and dependance on the land, the depth of our partnership in working with that land to grow grapes and make wine, working with those cows to get milk to make cheese. The partnership of soul with sky, of human vision with rolling vineyard hills.

Words are just approximations, reaching to convey the notion of true comfort one feels when seeing how in the land is life, and in life is all that we find to be pleasurable and true. Words, thoughts, ideas — when really what is needed is silence, at the top of a hill in the Jura; silence, on the ground between rows of grapevines; silence, contentment in the comfort and connection to a mythical past and time beyond mind.

4 Responses to “In the Jura Mountains”
  1. Leila says:


  2. chicagohouse says:

    A pleasure! I think it would be really interesting to bring together the industrial folks and the artisanal folks and listen to the conversation that followed.

    • ehimmel says:

      Thanks! You’re right, it would certainly be interesting, although they hardly even speak the same language.

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