Wednesday 19 June 2013: Red tape
Another 'improvement' being carried out by the mairie turns out to be the building of a shelter around the huge plane tree in the centre of the village. I can't imagine why, as the tree provides shade from the sun in summer and if it's raining then the old men simply sit in the bus shelter. In the evenings everyone moves across the road and brings their own chairs. So why do we need a shelter? It seems another example of our municipality being willing to do anything so long as it's fairly cheap and will make the village look like the suburb of a big town. I don't want to complain too publicly at the moment because we've asked the carpenter who is doing the work to make us a window....
Just last night as we were going out to Fouzilhon to the Théatre de Pierres, Lo Jardinièr and I were amused to see young girls sitting under the tree apparently learning to smoke - of course, our amusement was partly because we're not responsible for them, but it was a reminder of rites of passage - they'll have to go elsewhere now.
It's on my one street
How long has this plane tree
offered summer shade, its winter
leafless light, a resting place, a place
for all? Around its mottled moulting
bark old men have wound their tendrils,
remembered lifetimes in la lenga d'oc when
their fathers, grandfathers hired vendemiaires
who'd travelled here from Spain, and women
stopped work in the afternoons to watch
the children play, and evening teenagers
coughed first breaths of smoke
until last night.
Today's red tape
keep us out,
close the circle
caging benches, tree and forbidden
fountain. This meeting place has been declared
un chantier, a construction site, for shelter
we didn't know we needed.
la lenga d'oc = Occitan
vendemiaires = seasonal vine workers
Thanks to ceridwen for the original tethered image, and to Veronica for the original tendrils and for the 'forbidden fountain' label.