On the road to Cagliari, the passion for the trees leads me to S'Ortu Mannu, in Villamassargia; twelve hectares of centuries-old olive trees, where hundreds of patriarchs coexist, including one thousands of years old: Sa Reina, the Queen.
Even before reaching the fence that encloses the most precious tree in the park, beyond a wooden gate, the vision of an immense olive grove is revealed, immersed in the scenery of a soft lawn and a bright sky.
It is exciting to be here, in the territory of an ancient history, where these trees have seen many others like me, pass over time. When I’m not here anymore, they will still witness human affairs, silent and wise, for hundreds of years.
Beyond the gate, I am surrounded by olive trees with large twisted trunks and thick foliage; I walk around each one to discover all their faces and feel the energy they emanate.
Someone still smiles when talking about the energy of trees, yet science has also found that walking in the trees, or better yet touching them, embracing them, is very good for body and mind; slows the heart rate, increases the immune system and decreases aggressiveness.
There is also the incredible discovery of two scientists, one from Hungary and the other from Denmark, who, through laser sensors, have identified that trees have a sort of beat inside them, reminiscent of a heart beat. An impulse that pumps and distributes water, just like a heart pumps blood.
I head towards one of the most imposing olive trees, the remarkable foliage covers a good part of the trunk. I estimate its circumference, it is not less than nine or ten meters; I don't stop looking at it, touching it and photographing it. It is so large that it could be a cottage with a huge roof of leaves.
I like to think that these photographs are a precious documentation, because they told me later, that access to this part of the olive grove is prohibited, but yet someone left the gate open. Once again the instinct of the traveler?
I really think so, I arrived at the right time.
Davide, a friend from Cagliari, fond of trees like me, told me that the origin of this park dates back to the Middle Ages, when the Benedictine monks planted the first olive trees.
It seems that in the same period, the Pisans, urged by Pope Benedict VIII to drive out the Muslims from Sardinia, pushed the local population to graft the olive trees, which became theirs once planted.
Many of these trees were until recently owned by citizens. Subsequently, the Municipality of Villamassargia gave each olive tree to the original owner, for the next 99 years.
So almost every family has one tree located in the oasis and some letters on the trunks indicate the initials of the family’s head name. However I have not found any.
Every shape, a life experience. I think back to a photographic work, made years ago, whose concept gives the title to the "Shape Experience" Image Collection, where the shape of the flowers and trees photographed, represents their path over time, the evolution and the metamorphoses.
Even the aspect of the tree in front of me has been shaped by the genetic, biological, meteorological, human, and many more events of its individual life and its species.
The shape in fact, of an experience.
I continue my pilgrimage. I live the olive groves as natural cathedrals, where time loses its meaning, pervaded by the Sacred of these solemn presences.
Taking a breath, I sit down next to the greatest of the patriarchs, the good giant.
With caution, in order not to damage it in any way, I rest my back on the trunk and close my eyes. I am completely serene, here I feel safe.
I leave the olive grove of wonders and go back to the road that leads to the entrance of the oasis. Sa Reina emerges from afar, the Queen is surrounded by a protective fence.
At the center of a meadow in bloom with daisies, dominated by motionless clouds in this absence of wind, she is striking for the size of her trunk, a circumference of sixteen meters.
As I walk away, I turn around for a last glance, on this side the sovereign of S'Ortu Mannu looks like a dragon looking out from the foliage of branches, but you need to have careful eyes to see it.
A moment later, I turn back again, Sa Reina is now hidden by a veil of leaves.
I think back to what Claudio Lallai, a young Sardinian artist, said, when he handed me the wonderful mask of the Faun Warrior > I do not consider myself a sculptor, I am only a craftsman who reveals what there is already in the tree, its spirit <
That Faun Warrior, who played a significant role in my life, had been carved precisely in the wood of an old olive tree, blown down by the wind.
All Images and Original Text Copyright Solo Moles - Travel One 2020
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