I've written a little about wars and their different impacts ... particularly contrasting French and American realities...
as I was driving to NotreVie's in the Aveyron yesterday ... which meant driving west to east for 3 hours through amazingly green, hilly, peaceful and sparsely populated lands ... my mind wandered and wondered at the lack of people here ... and really throughout France.
Of COURSE there are people. It just seems that a land that has been here so long ... so rich in history and beauty and consequence ... should be more densely populated.
and then I started reflecting on the heavy price her people have paid, most recently in the last century ... when it comes to war. I questioned (in my head of course because who else do I ever have to talk to? well okay there IS Louis and Bruno and they WERE in the car with me ... but no, it was in my head) whether the loss of nearly an entire generation of men in the first world war has had a lasting impact on France's overall population. and made a note to follow up on the query soon. what do you guys think?
yeah you'd have to be here I guess to understand what I mean about the lack of people and populace. and it could just be my impression. but it is more than just being a little slower. and even when I go to the cities, which is where the younger generation has shifted to ... in contrast to other great cities I've been (NY, LA, Nairobi, SF, Mexico City, Madrid, Milan ... a few) ... there just is not the same density. I did find an interesting piece in wikipedia on French demographics that confirm a large dip in population pre-WWII, but also points out that France's baby boom surpassed other nations and was even referred to as France's "miracle". but not so much that it got them far beyond a recovery stage in terms of population!
so ... I'll get back to you on that with more. But since this is a week-end of war remembrance in France, I let my mind wander in a topical manner. If my ruminations are substantiated, it seems appropriate to remember how devastating and profound man's inhumanity to each other can truly be. May 8th is Victory Day in France. Normally I'd crack wise about what really WAS the victory to be had. frankly I think the French have achieved a victory of sorts through their heavy losses of the century. I admire their solemn determination in avoiding war and its costs. One thing that rankled me in the states were the constant references to French cowardice when it comes to war. Common sense is what I'd call it. sigh.
and while I benefit from the graceful greens, the solitude and beauty of these undulating hillsides ... the peaceful habitude... I'll also give a care to the price that was paid for them.