la terre (ter) noun, feminine
: soil, land ; earth; property; clay
Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these words:
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Je m'allonge sur la terre pour contempler le ciel.
I lie on the ground to contemplate the sky.
terre à terre = matter of fact
redescendre/revenir sur terre = to come down to earth
sous terre = underground
la terre cuite = terra-cotta
travailler la terre = to work the land
sur la terre comme au ciel = on earth as it is in heaven
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Field of Dreams
Lying on a parcel of freshly turned earth, I look from side to side: just rocks and dirt. I wish the ground would stay this way. How neat and tidy things are out here in nature's own home!
It is dust that drove me out of the house... and yet dirt--from whence dust issues--is somehow clean and serene.
Stretched out on my back, I think about spring, when the weeds will shoot up. It won't be so neat then. Then again, this may turn into a field of poppies... might we help it along with a few seeds? Or will last year's poppies return, automatically?
Les coquelicots... my thoughts now wander to Flanders Fields. How the mind shoots from one chose to another.... then to Lily, who is buried here, at the end of this parcel.
I lie still sur la terre and feel the cool earth come over me, one dust particle at a time....
I look up to the oak tree which towers over Lily and me.
"You ought to take a nap outside, under that tree." If only mom could see me... bundled up here, in wool socks, a knitted cap, and a coat lined with fleece.
"Just lie under that tree and look up to the sky. Magnifique!"
I do as Mom says and begin to feel my cares slipping away.
The land on which I lie is one level down from the vineyard. It once held fruit trees... which became diseased, then a kitchen garden... and a few sunflowers (how I'd toiled in vain. Dragging the garden hose all the way out to the field... and how I'd stared, stunned to see the radish seeds up and march off indefinitely... thanks to an army of ants who saw an opportunity.)
And here is where Jean-Marc planted four small olive trees, one of the gifts he gave me on my birthday. I reach up and grab the label from the sapling towering above me. (How a sapling towers when you lie beneath!) The label notes the life span of an olivier: 2000 years....
My eyes run up the dirt wall which rises behind me, until they reach the blue sky at the edge of the turf. I remember the fresh hoof tracks I'd seen and I begin to imagine a herd of sangliers charging towards this drop off, beneath which I rest. Will they stop in their tracks... or will they fly over me? I squint, when next a whooshing sound has my eyes widening.... a flock of birds flies over! I listen to the rush of thrushes. How to describe the sound of so many wings batting? It would take poetry.
I stand up and dust myself off. Nothing poetic about that. I gaze at the field as one would an old friend: with a reverent we must see each other more often. Yes, we must make the time and see each other again.
le coquelicot = poppy
la chose = thing
sur la terre = on the ground
magnifique = magnificent
From left to right: Herm, Sharron, Karen, and Bob. You may recognize the names "Herm" and "Karen" from the comments box. These two organized the first word-a-day meetup in Phoenix! Four people showed up... if you count Herm's and Karen's spouses... and isn't that a start? :-)
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety