January: Season for “pulling the wood”…come rain, sun or frost.

“Tirer les Bois”

White sky above,  frozen earth below,

parellels vernacular,  stakes and vine,

shrill cry of hawk,  circling high,

tendrils entwined,  resisting demise,

soft notes of voice,  drift by and by,

“On va tirer les bois”,  “Let’s pull the wood”.


Boots on, warm coat and hat, heavy duty garden gloves, then brave the cold and wet of January. For the season of “pulling the wood” has begun.

The pruner has left, but prepared my way. He has cut the vine, left two short spurs. But canes hang limp, while tendrils clasp tight to their wire support.

Start at the first vine, first row.  Work one vine after one. Grab the wood and pull, take one step, grab the wood and pull. My back soon aches, the vine slaps, my face stings. Clay mud sticks to my boots, so I can hardly move. How many vines in a row? How many rows in a yard?

.The sun breaks, warms my limbs, hat off then coat. Time is swallowed in rhythm and quiet. Distraction comes with sounds on breeze, a birdsong, a car engine, a voice somewhere.One more, and one more, then it’s done. Shake off mud, shake off work, time to trek home.


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