charlotte. what is charlotte?
a girl’s name? a city in north carolina?
a strawberry dessert you made for a fellow volunteer’s birthday with berries from the market?
all of that. plus.
this is also a charlotte. why it is named charlotte, that is another story that was never explained to you, but all volunteers know what the charlotte is. it is a magical box with wheels that can be pulled by bike and unfolds into an observation point.
on a busy bike path, volunteers set up the charlotte.
a longue-vue and some jumelles are brought out, bird sightings are written on the chalkboard, flyers are distributed, and upcoming events are discussed.
the charlotte serves as an informal introduction for the public to the reserve, the LPO, and the MDF. LPO? MDF? all to be defined later.
but first, a short story. a story involving a boat. a boat made of bread, butter, and some salad greens. but the scene is not complete as it needs some fish.
and where to find some fish? with radishes!
a couteau is needed. [knife]
you take your knife and slice the radis open (not all the way through) to form the mouth. [radish]
get some beurre. salted is best. [butter]
don’t even try to skimp.
stuff the radish with the butter.
et voila! un radis au beurre! eat. repeat. continue. until you hear the magical words "à table, tout le monde!”
then you stop making your fish radishes, because the tarte au broccoli chèvre is ready for dinner. [broccoli goat cheese tart]
being a volunteer is one thing. being a volunteer in france is something different. you’re not so sure if this much fun would happen around the dinner table in any other country.
after dinner – and dishes – time for bed.
you set your alarm, because tomorrow, you’re going to wake up early to go sunrise searching.