Variations in Green
Saint Germain dedicated his life to the pursuit of purity. Isolating himself from the world, he spent his days as a hermit high above the hills of Talliores. The Hermitage of Saint Germain (and its small cemetery) overlooks the beautiful lake of Annecy (La Lac d’Annecy) and is dedicated to this hermit saint. Today we walked the trail of Saint Germain. Starting from our bed and breakfast, we walked up the mountain to the Hermitage, where we enjoyed a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding “mastiffs” (dramatic mountains that give this area such appeal). After a short rest, we continued up again to a high valley, then down into the lush green forest following the saint’s very own path — a walk that took us on a five kilometer (3.10 mile) mountainous loop.
Here, green is the color of spring. Light green, like the soft green skin of the an unripe fig, clings to the bark of a tree. Glance away and you the catch the dark blue pear green contrasted by deep brown purple green of the moss firmly anchored to weathered stone. Take another step on the carpet of a thousand shades of green. The dappled sunlight highlights the vivid yellow greens of the canopy high above our heads as we walk by lichen covered rocks painted in shades of cream/red/melon/tan/brown/orange/avocado/grey greens. Green/white/blue leaves that lay on the ground are shaded by the vigorous growth of broad pastel lime green plants pushing their way past the grayish maroon greens of decaying branches and bramble. Look and you can see the dark grassy green along side the emerald greens in the sinuous veins of large boulders. On occasion, the powder bluish teal green of Lake Annecy could be seen through the phthalo green leaves of trees whose somber deep tones obscure individual shapes yet, they are framed by mint, asparagus and sea greens leaves backlit by the bright sunlight trying to push its way through the deeper/darker cucumber/watermelon/olive greens of the heavy, thick, lush green forest. As we walk along, we come to a fast running spring whose clear yet faintly greenish waters tumble down into a deep abyss of yet more variations of olive/turquoise/jade/amber/viridian and deep ocean greens.
At last, after a couple of hours, we complete our journey, stopping where we started. Accompanied, surrounded, then enveloped in and finally released from Saint Germain’s trail’s springtime embrace.
The extended heavy spring rains this year have not only given this area this immense blanket of green, but everywhere you look, flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors bloom. The local people appreciate this and supplement nature’s gift by providing concentrated clusters of multitudes of colors from window sills and patio rail containers that spill their cacophony of colors into your eyes.
This blog is dedicated to my daughter who is infatuated by Herman Melville’s ten-page description of white when referring to Captain Ahab’s nemesis, the great white whale…Moby Dick.