Pas de Racines

I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) lately to make time to speak French with my husband, who is perfectly bilingual. Unfortunately, learning a language is much more effective when it is forced, so these voluntary conversation sessions are usually doomed to either end before they begin (sorry, I don’t have time now – I’m filling out forms for the Swiss government!) or fizzle out after I slip back into English for the fifth time (can you slow down a little? I don’t know that word. Can we watch Breaking Bad tonight?) You get the idea.

Recently, we discovered that going for a walk while trying to speak French works better…it’s still hard to make time to do, but once we’re on a roll it’s easier to stay on track. Sights and sounds of the city provide basic-vocabulary conversation fodder, and arriving back home provides a formal end to the session.

The last time we were on one of these strolls, we came across an unusual sight, as shown in the photos below:

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At first I thought it was just an overrun green space in the center of a city square, but then my husband remarked, “il n’y a pas de racines.”

“What?” I said.

Il n’y a pas de racines – there are no roots. The living plants and soil have been bundled up together on top of the pavement.”

I looked closer and saw that he was right…none of the plants were actually growing out of the ground. They had just been plopped there–all messy and tangled and searching for the sun with their upturned faces–in the middle of Lausanne.

I looked at those plants and I thought to myself, “I know just how you feel.”




  1. Pairodox Farm

    I am so sorry not to have replied sooner. J read this to me as I came in the door from work yesterday, so I didn’t taken another look (if I had, I would have taken the opportunity to comment). Anyway, I liked this post until the very end … and then it made me sad. But, you see, all of those plants are sitting on a foundation of organic matter … aren’t they? If so, those bare roots will fine their way down and into the rich soil and then stand solidly for a long, long, time to come. There … now I feel better. D

    • scrappytraveler

      You’re the best! I look forward to your comments a lot but I don’t want them to stress you out. I hope the post wasn’t too much of a downer…I like the spin you put on it, though…reminds me of the Tolkien quote, ‘not all who wander are lost’ 🙂

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