More Than A Pile Of Sticks

I must have walked by this pile of old wood in the vineyard on the edge of Sulzburg a dozen times in the past two weeks, never giving it a second thought. Until the last time.

I should have wondered why the pile was there when I first saw it, but my mind tends to wander when I am out for my daily walk. My brain doesn’t always engage with what my eyes see.

Looking closely, I realized that this isn’t just scrap lumber or random forest branches, which is what I had first thought. Given that the vineyard is a kilometre away from the forest, you would think I would have wondered why anyone would bring branches that far to make a giant pile. As I said, my brain doesn’t always engage.

This pile looks to me to be composed almost completely of grape vines. I’m so used to seeing them with leaves and grapes attached that I missed it at first.

Vines here have a lifespan. By the time they are 50 years old farmers are thinking about replacing them.

I’m not sure of the reasons. Maybe lower yield means it is time to replace them. Or maybe the grape variety isn’t as popular as it once was. Or maybe grapes from old vines don’t taste as good. I must remember to ask.

Looking at the pile, I thought of the generations of farmers who have worked the land in this area. I think they have been planting grapes here for about 2,000 years, starting with the Romans. That’s a lot of heritage, a lot of cultural memory contained in a pile of sticks.

Too me this looks like a perfect bonfire, just waiting for a match. But they probably don’t do that sort of thing around here.


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