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Culture

20 – The Forest in Nivernais – Departure for the wood

20 December 2018

The twentieth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts two men, with their axe on the shoulder, in the forest of Bertranges leaving for the winter season forestry activities.

The twentieth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts two men, with their axe on the shoulder, in the forest of Bertranges leaving for the winter season forestry activities.

At the time that the photograph was taken, loggers from the Nivernais were, in a vast majority, peasants or day labourers, farmers during summer, woodcutters during winter. Thus, there is an important distinction between woodcutters and specialized woodworkers as pit sawyers, stave splitters or coalmen.

Achille Millien complements the postcard with verses of poetry about the harsh climatic conditions the loggers endure in the wood during winter: “Il vient du nord un vent revêche / Qui cingle et mord, rend gourds les doigts / Et fait danser la feuille sèche : / Le bûcheron part pour le bois. / Il tient l’outil pesant dont le tranchant pénètre, / – Coin d’acier blanc aux reflets froids, – / Au cœur du grand chêne ou du hêtre.

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