Sunday, 18 October 2009


mistral is many things in provence - a searching wind that comes from the north down the rhone valley to fan out between montpelier and frejus .in the summer it is sometimes a relief from the heat. in the winter it brings cold weather makes the pines used as protection bend and sway. it makes a special roaring sound that is unmistsakable. just like a giants breath. once upon a time in provence any one who comitted a murder during a mistral was considered to have dimished responsiblity. this is a wind that rattles shutters ,sends plant pots and tiles flying, it pentrates houses with its searching fingers ,and drives the faint hearted to live else where. but it is also the soul of provence and the name taken by one of provences greatest poets frederic mistral .there are statues to him every where as he revived the provencal language with his fellow poets the brotherhood of the felibrige .together they preserved provence's identity without resorting to politics. the renaissance provencal also included ceramics and literatute. it oversaw the development of the marseille school of painting ,cezanne, and it lured van gogh and gaugin south ., the mistral maybe a trial but has also made the people of provence what they are ,tough ,humerous, loyal. provence is a cold country with a hot sun ,a calm place with fierce wind .the mistral is a torment it is also part of the provencal soul. for me the mistral is represented by the blueness of the sky ,the firece eye of heaven, sea turning the colour of crushed purple grapes and time when the maniacs light fires . there are no half measures during a mistral. many authors have described it everyone form colette to pagnol and guino , pagnol descibed it thus--------------------------------------------------------------------.un petit mistral est ne dans le ne fait pas beaucoup de bruit,les feuilles frissonnent a peine.on dirait qu'il ne sert a rien,qu'a fair briller les etoiles- et puis tout a coup,quand l'aube se leve il pousse un grand cri de sauvage,et commence a chasseur des troupeaux de chenes - -there is an excellent anthology of the mistral by bernard mondon and steffen lipp published by equinoxe and available on amazon with illustrations ,information and poems in fact everything you need to know

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