On the trail stories united by the scythe’s edge encounter and meet each other...
poor reaper ascends the trail towards France; towards a job he can make a living with, this year, like the past ones, and like many of his compatriots do. And it is precisely one of his “colleagues” whom he meets along the way, sitting on a rock and despairing about a quirk of fate that made him lose his precious work tool.
With what did he meet along the way? Which perils hid in the vapours of a fog that also ran along the trail? A story that seems to end sadly but which can be resolved with the simplicity of a generous gesture.
LuigiA big heart beats time on the trail and suggests small, great actions.
DomenicoNobody knows the mountain trails like he who walks them with the scythe and other “merchandise”.
In the alpine valleys people’s subsistence was based for a long time on their migration and their opportunity to practise seasonal, often itinerant crafts: the hemp carders who descended to the Po plain with the arrival of autumn, the hair traders of Elva, the cutlers of Frassino, the teachers of Saint-Véran who with the arrival of winter rendered themselves available to teach in the most secluded villages of the French Alps. And from the valleys of Piedmont many men and women left for Provence where they were hired as flower pickers or servants in the houses of the rich. Among these numerous crafts a particular one – carried from the upper Po Valley to the Queyras – was the craft of the scythe. The hay season in Ostana never started before Saint Claudius, the 6th of June, but on the first days of July the reapers of Ostana had finished cutting their hay and they prepared to leave. The jacket’s sleeve served as a suitcase, a bundle of clothes, a small sack and the long wooden handle of the scythe becomes a walking stick, separated from the wrapped blade. The small anvil and the hammer necessary to thin the scythe were tied with a cord and carried over the shoulder.
Ottonelli Elisabetta – Le faucheurs – Immigration saisonnière en Queyras – Le Office de Tourisme du Queyras – Projet Alcotra Vis’Oc