French Friday: Post Charlottesville

On Saturday, as I was selecting the photos for my Monday post about Blacksburg, Virginia and the peaceful gardens set on the campus of Virginia Tech, despicable acts of violence hit Charlottesville, Virginia. Retrospectively, the Hahn Horticulture Garden seemed even more peaceful.

We all know that flowers, plants, and trees alone won’t bring peace between people. But if they could talk I want to believe that this man-made landscape realized in total harmony with nature would say they are the proof that humans can always choose gorgeous over ugly, peace over war, love over hate.


I’m not familiar with Charlottesville. My family stopped there only once, in 2012. We had dinner at the lovely Ivy Inn, near the University of Virginia, after visiting Monticello.

This is the link to the posts I wrote back then. One is written in French and the other in English. I re-read them and didn’t want to alter their content since they reflect my state of mind back in 2012.

I live in the US but emigrated from France with my husband and our first-born child. Her three siblings were born in this country that we all consider home now. As any fairly recent immigrant I still discover the entrenched roots of the complex violent history of my adoptive land. My native France knows its share too. Including racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.

As a child I didn’t study the American Civil War at school and didn’t live through the Civil Right Movement. What I studied, though, and moreover lived through “true lived” stories told from my parents, relatives, and neighbors is WWII. Great moments of pride with the resistance and moments of shame due to the hateful acts perpetuated against Jewish people.

Seeing the Nazi flag on the American soil, hearing the bearers of such flags shouting words that ooze so much despise against anyone who’s not them is bone-chilling and intolerable.

There are too many powerful articles and exceptional blog posts that have been written since Saturday. I only selected two articles from the New York Times, my primary source of info. This one is written by a Charlottesville resident and is a must-read since all of us, Americans, are in this. That particular one moved me to tears.




  1. Thank you for posting the article about the Jewish family. How sad that in this country where there are so many freedoms, people judge others with such animosity. It is truly sad. There is no need of this. All people, all citizens legal or not legal deserve respect. We should always respect every culture, whether we agree with it or now. I am speaking of people who have come from various countries and religions, not hate groups who condemn. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, human beings can do much better than hating each other. I want to believe in a world based on kindness and I’m positive that they are more good people than bad.

  2. There are still people alive who fought that flag in WWII. I can’t imagine what they are feeling. We can’t afford to succumb to hate.

  3. I think that people who live with nature ARE more peaceful than people who live entirely in the city. It’s why people who live in cities always seem to run to the country when they get a vacation.

    • I don’t know if rural people are more peaceful than city folks, but nature has a way to soothe us and to remind us where we all came from. Being among living organisms such as plants and trees and knowing that animals surround me when I’m in the wild is always healing. But I remember living in Paris and how I needed to get away once in a while. Thank you for stopping by Marilyn.

  4. Trips into the wilderness took me away from the tragedy of Charlottesville, Evelyne, away from the constant media, away from the hatred and violence. And away from the terrible prejudice that has been fostered in the name of neo-nationalism. It was a welcome break. But there is no running away. I had hoped that the President would grow into his role, would be moderated by the awesome responsibility and weigh of his job. Apparently, it isn’t to be. –Curt

  5. Beautiful gardens Evelyne, I like to think you’re right, that most of us would choose beauty over hate.

  6. The setting is naturally gorgeous but the work which is entirely done by the students in horticulture is stunning. A perfect nature/humans collaboration. If only we could embrace the potential of our lives in this abundant universe and always favor love. Thank you, Andrea.

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