Wind and Walls Made of Stone

Today is the most beautiful spring day that I could have ever asked for. Cherry trees are blossoming, windows are open, people are drinking wine in the sun. It is perfect. Yesterday however, was a different story.

I wasn’t really prepared for the winds that sometimes whip through the heel of the boot but I am finding that at times, this is the case. Yesterday began with a wind that back home would have sent warnings and most definitely dramatized the evening news. Regardless, at around 10 am I found myself on a country road walking to Gelso Bianco, Southern Visions’ soon to be opened cooking school. The wind raged on and I, well….just buttoned up. After a few minutes I simply felt invigorated and slightly reminded of one of those late season hurricanes that has lost its umph by the time it reaches the North Atlantic. But mostly, I was completely captivated by the stone walls that were all around me.

As a native New Englander I am quite used to the site of charming stone walls that roll along side the roads and through fields. I have been enamoured by the presence in the landscape for some time and have even built one with my own hands. In part, I am sure this is why the landscape of Puglia speaks to me. They are everywhereThe dry-stone walls of Puglia are made of the limestone rocks that have been dug out of the soil. You will see piles of these rocks lying here and there at the edges of fields. The sheer number of them gives you an idea of just how carefully this land has been worked. And the stones actually leach nutrients into the soil, raising its PH and making for healthy agricultural fields. Farmers in Puglia grow just about everything that the climate supports.

Sometimes tinted with the rich red of the soil, the walls run along roads, create property boundaries, surround vineyards, single olive trees, or just seem to meander off into the distance and keep going and going forever. Every step I took on this very windy sort of rainy morning I was distracted by another wall, another enchanting view and another sign of spring.

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