The June Pole

The tree in Sulzburg’s market square has been the subject of several previous posts here, and I really thought I was done with it as May came to an end.IMG_20180511_1231089

Back in December it was a Christmas tree; quite nice to look when we would return home after dark. At some point early in the new year it was shorn of its lower branches, but stayed in the square until Fastnacht at the beginning of Lent.

We were told it would return as a maypole on May 1. I had thought that would be the last of it, but it turns out the maypole is left standing all month. I don’t know why and must confess I didn’t think to ask. Our neighbour assured me it would be gone at the end of the month.

June 1 was a Friday, and the maypole was still standing. I was surprised but thought that maybe there had been some sort of emergency that had prevented the city works department from removing it. I was sure they would take it down on the Monday. They didn’t – the tree is still there, a long pole with ribbons and some foliage at the top.IMG_20180609_1529163

This struck me as strange, given the German reputation for efficiency. Maybe it was like the train system, which is not as efficient as it is reputed to be, or at least not when I have taken it. Sulzburg is a small place; maybe city staff, which can’t be that many people, were dealing with a number of emergencies and just hadn’t gotten to the tree.

Late last week there was an explanation, in the municipal newsletter that is delivered to our homes weekly, and also posted on the pole itself.

Like most towns in the area, Sulzburg has some housing issues. Finding an apartment ranges from difficult to impossible. You wouldn’t think though that would also be true for the avian population. After all, we’re in the middle of the Black Forest. There are trees everywhere.

However, some bird chose the top of the village maypole as a good place to build a nest. Where there are bird’s nests there are eggs, and then young birds. Bottom line is, the maypole will stay up until the young birds leave the nest. That is the right thing to do, even if Sulzburg is probably the only town in Germany which still has a maypole. I guess it is now proper to refer to it as a junepole. (If there were smart marketers at City Hall they would have called the TV networks – it would be a cute human interest story – good for tourism.)

Next year though, if they leave foliage at the top of the maypole, I expect city workers will wrap it in a wire mesh to keep out any birds that may be house hunting.


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