Fast running but low water: crystal clear: cold, even in this intense summer heat. The River L’Oule spills over and through its bed of white limestone boulders.
Where the terrain of the river bed allows rounded cobbles have been piled across this liquid body’s width. These dams capture the water into pools, their liquid depth painted turquoise by the light of the hot summer sun bouncing of the fine, white limestone flour held in suspension.
In these pools, fish swim. They are sport for the fishermen who will be along in the late evening when the day softens and the insects are filling the warm air.
Within the constant tumble of water over the weir, something is still - an incongruity that captures attention...
...A fish appears suspended above the cobblestone weir. It's tail flicks from side to side as it moves, very slowly, against the flow and up the dam in the river. It edges down again, then upwards again, still tail first.
The fish’s movement belays an intense struggle, for the fish’s head is trapped within the extended jaws of a snake. Snakes fish in the river. This snake has just had a success and it is in the throws of pulling the fish up against the water’s flow in its effort to firmly secure this hearty meal. In response to this agonising situation the fish takes advantage of the energy inherent in the flowing water to free itself from the powerful jaws of this predatory reptile. With its long body running parallel with the dam the snake wraps itself around a large stone within the structure. Now well anchored the snake can devout its whole energy into pulling the body of the fish into its own sinuous length.
Its seems an impossible task. The fish is at least twice the diameter of the creature that has captured it. But the snake persists, peristaltic waves slowly running from its mouth along its body and with each ripple the fish is drawn deeper into the jaws of the reptile.
The process of consuming the fish takes over half an hour, the snake barely moving other than the pulsating body ripples that result in a macabre distension of the snake’s otherwise slender body. Fully consumed the snake uncurls its body from the boulder and slithers into the heart of the dam wall.
Just in the nick of time, for the snake at least. Five young boys have discovered the delights of fishing pool on this hot afternoon in the Drome province. Having scouted out a boulder over hanging the pool they take turns in leaping into the water and on top of one another. Any fish within the now rippled and stirred up water of the quiet pool must be in full retreat taking sanctuary around the quiet edges, where the snakes lurk!