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Themes:     Nature & Environment (51)    Rights & Duties (30)  
Tags:    Dolomites     Ladin     Nature     Sassongher
michil Thursday, 1 April 2010

In time gone by there was but a marshy valley...

Nature was sovereign: uncultivated, impervious, lush. Radiant in its uncontaminated inaccessibility. Quick flowing rivers raged like wild dogs and the gnats fed on the wild cats bleeding them of their very life. Then Man came along...
In time gone by there was but a marshy valley...
First encamped on the higher ground, living off the animals that ventured away from the dense woods. In the milder season he learnt to grow corn and even apples.
For hundreds of years Man felt part of the seasonal change - of the earth’s vibrations, of the rhythmic beat of the plants and the animals. Step by assured step man cultivated the land, built embankments, and treated Nature as a close ally. Man was at the heart of Nature.
It was the Romans who brought technology and a new language.
Centuries later it was to be the Bavarians, the Slavs, the Normans who crossed the newest of mountain chains in Europe, the Alps. The language they spoke, Ladin, began to spread in pocket valley style as did the populations themselves
Praying and rearing animals were the essentials of a life, a life which was to be suddenly ripped apart by blight and filossera, the cruelest and most catastrophic of calamities that European agriculture had ever known.
The wish was that nothing worse, more threatening, more impactful could do us further harm. Yet even the legendary Dolomite beauty could not silence the canons. Man himself had wanted this atrocity, Man had caused it, Man had brought the Great War – the most horrendous of results ensued – homes, lives, and hopes all blown away and only hunger and famine brought in their place.
Moving on, and over time, the curiosity of explorers and Alpine climbers brought the attention of the wider world to the Dolomites. The first lifts carried those early intrepid skiers, the first homes became hotels of a sort. The winding mountain passes bore witness to the first motorised vehicles and throngs of humanity gathered to celebrate and urge on legendary cyclists such as Coppi and Bartali. Such reminiscences seem to be of a distant remote past but in reality they are little more than a generation old. The Dolomite roads have lived their first hundred years!
What times! Poverty has been won over and we can pass to other considerations: to understand surely that the time has now come to preserve certain precious things, to recognise the importance of our language; to see and feel the environment as a very part of our identity; to go the next step forward – to establish a union between Man and his surroundings. In essence to move as swiftly as the rivers once did to create for the immediate present and for the foreseeable future an intelligent approach to tourism.
I want to follow the tracks of the hare and other creatures I even find hard to name. I want to lose myself in my thoughts away from the beaten track. I want to be childlike and sit atop a heap of snow.
I want to turn and be captivated by the crow of a cock I fail to see and fail to recognise with precision.
I want to feel as if this land is a garden. I want no longer to focus on those thoughts of the past, of Man’s plight and Man’s destructive ways.
Today I will be late for work. No great calamity. I have a wish to indulge myself and spend time as time should be spent.
I imagine the joy of the pair of eagles which nest half way up Sassongher. I want to take in the image of the farmer scything the hay. I need to bend down and drink from the bountiful stream. I am going to walk barefoot across the dewy meadows and absorb the energy radiating through. Each step will fill me with a thousand thoughts, almost rendering me dizzy for such is the force of Nature.

Winter with its huge blanket of white intensity seems to cover Nature, to suspend the thousand pulsations of our Life.
Now Nature has risen and has awoken Man again. For an instant the world is at peace and all seems to be in synchrony. Look around, pay heed to the signals and you will understand.

Yes, indeed. Today is a good day and I feel part of it. Winter has gone and with it a new life has come again, a rebirth is in the air. We may not realise it but of this rebirth we have a need.
Rejoice in the need and live this Spring!
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