‘Yesterday’s ride of some one hundred kilometres was very…

ride of some one hundred kilometres was very beautiful. A thunderstorm blew
over early in the morning, freshening the air and the colors of the fields, and
pleasing us by laying the dust. We ran through a farming country where the
regular patches of blooming flowers were a glowing pink, setting off the russet
of newly ploughed ground and the silvery green of the grain. And such wild
flowers! It is time for California to shut up and hand the china teapot to
France. The principal flower is the scarlet poppy, with four broad petals of
crinkly thinness, forming a very wide cup. Never was there flower more
beautiful, and it abounds everywhere. Then there are lupins, buttercups,
larkspurs, yellow flags, purple flags, lilies-of-the-valley, and a million
others. The trees are all cottonwood and willow except the artificial pine
forests. These forests, by the way, are of the greatest military importance, as they screen everything.’

Summer 1917, Mourmelon-le-Petit, American ambulance driver’s diary – History of the American Field Service in France – Photo: Soldiers in a field of wild flowers in Allonville.