Photography and words by Paolo Ricca
The Strength of a Man
The cult of Greek mythology tells of Hercules in Rome where, returning from Spain with the herd of captured oxen, stops in the mountains of Lazio at that time terrified by the presence of Caco, the deity of fire. The legend recalls an epic battle that sees Hercules victorious and the birth of the cult of fire. Today history repeats itself in Poli, a small town on the hills of eastern suburbs where a cow farmer, retracing the ancient paths with his stronger mules, frees the mountain from the cold by collecting the wood that will warms the heart of winter.
The first rays of the sun warm the branches of the trees. Full of hope, a man and his mules descend along the rugged paths of the woods. A steep descent and an even harder climb, round trip, a journey of effort combined with the risk of losing the entire crop. Here the vegetation grows rapidly and sometimes it is necessary to make your way with a billhook, an agricultural tool consisting of a metal blade in the shape of a hook. The strength of a man and the decisive step of his animals, an elegant walking that not even a ton of wood can stop, a bond of sweat that cradles the prospect of a more just coexistence with one's own territory.
Thanks to this example of altruism, the younger see a new possibility to go back to the origins, to the mountains where they were born.