The old mule track from the Hannibal Bridge – Pinasca – leading to the Great Dubbione, starts as straight as a dart. Up towards a closed horizon that you cannot yet imagine.
After a short stretch of asphalt, and after Villa delle Rose, the road runs on the bare ground, supported, upstream and downstream, by so many beautiful dry stone walls. It’s black soil such as graphite, because you are in the Geological Massif of Dora Maira dating back to the Carboniferous, before the dawn of time.
Often the land says things that concern us, if we just bow to listen to it, if we only read it a little.
Slowly the walls replace the trees, while the soil is better paved; first unsure, those trees grew where man had placed the fields and then, at times, in the ditches, bolder and higher. A continuous shelter that accompanies the journey. The path doesn’t change direction, but sways a bit, a bit in the sun and a bit the shade to follow the slopes, and occasionally meets the water that falls from river beds all green and straight.
Enchant those giant trees, which seem to follow you. As mates to explain you the folds of rocks, the hidden quartzes, and the colors that go very softly from strong black to lighter shades. Where the soil is better exposed the masters are the oaks with ancient lichens to embroider trunks and branches. Just after, shot a bit the steps, large chestnut trees cover everything and it seems to enter a manor passing under those thick boughs.
At intervals the wild chestnut trees, the ‘’brope”, are very high and, for how long they are, covered of ivy, in inextricable heaps, a refuge for butterflies in the winter and for birds in the spring to make their nests. Or to eat berries when food is scarce. The kingdom of thrushes. That are all around you, they come after you as well, although you cannot see one of them, while they continue to sing the soundtrack of that very special place. Here and there, whizzing peaks, to seek the old and buckets trunks, where they beat their shots; peaks, that cannot sing but can taxied on the wood; so many things to say to the other peaks, and also to the man, if he can hear.
And you keep on walking …
So long as in an deeper irrigation ditch, almost a gorge, after a green wall of rock covered with sweet fern that has diverted the path not to do it fall, that’s a cartel.
Mute and even not so nice.
It tells of when on that path passed the filthy Nazis to hunt my brothers.
Not in the night of time; just yesterday.
Suddenly everything fades, all is quiet, you lose the color, there is no more blue in the branches, thrushes fled , no woodpeckers to make noise. Heart stops.
No more than that sign.
And a bitter sharp pain in your chest. Not to forget.