: to find
Je ne cherche pas. Je trouve.
I do not seek. I find. --Pablo Picasso
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Audio File: listen to my son, Max, pronounce today's word. Also, hear the verb's conjugation -- followed by the above quote: Download trouver.mp3 . Download trouver.wav
je trouve, tu trouves, il/elle trouve, nous trouvons, vous trouvez, ils/elles trouvent (trouvé)
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As if by coincidence, prize-worthy plants are popping up all over the French countryside... ever since I began botanical lessons with an herbalist Don Juan.* How is it that the very plants that we are studying are suddenly sporting themselves just outside my front door, there, where they've never grown before?
Or have they?
Knee-deep in a scratchy field of shrubs and weeds I wonder: how could I have ever missed these lavender beauties? Cardère, or "wild teasel", scatters itself not far from the roadside, its "arms" stretched high, its body, lithe. I watch the prickly plant dance in the gentle breeze, nature's botanical ballet free to anyone with eyes to see.
Driving toward Nyons, I glance out the car window. "Acanthus mollis"* waves excitedly. "You-hoo! Here we are... been here all along, just beyond the tip of your nose!" Not one to be snubbed, the plants forgivingly salute me. Surely those flowers were there one year ago? Why didn't I see them (by the dozen!) then?
It is one thing to ignore a plant, quite another to trample over it, dismissively. "They're called "Centaurée du Solstice" Mr. Farjon says, handing me a bunch of Yellow Starthistle* that he's just gathered from the vine field. He points to the flower's sharp "needles," shares a story from his childhood, and adds, as he often does, that while the plant may be "bon à rien" ("good for nothing"... or, in this case, not useful for medical purposes), yet... "ça mérite votre attention". All plants seem to merit our attention, according to Monsieur Farjon.
Last week, on my way to the town of Orange, I skidded to a stop beside a narrow canal. Tall as a topiary top model, "Salicaire"* towered there... as she (he?) must have, last summer....
Resembling a horticultural hitchhiker, planted there beside the road, she all but thumbed a purplish petal. I thought about picking her up. Instead, I remembered an unwritten adage: if ever she be a sole or rare exemplaire,* leave her there! Still in a daze, I pulled onto the road, leaving the other drivers to admire her, gaze after gaze.
As the countryside files by me, I wonder how much I am missing. How many more prize-worthy plants are invisible to this untrained eye? Might there be a flower-elephant traipsing across the road before me -- only I am as yet unable to see it?
Finally, a favorite quote of Farjon's returns to comfort me: "Je ne cherche pas. Je trouve." I do not need to seek these plants and flowers, the colors and the scents of which make me heady. They'll come and find me when I am good and ready.
an herbal Don Juan = (read about Monsieur Farjon) ; acanthus mollis = "Bear's Breeches" (plant); Yellow Starthistle (Centaurée du Solstice) = a flower that announces summer (solstice); Salicaire =
Purple-loosestrife ; un exemplaire (m) = example, specimen
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