The little community of Vezelay France has somehow found a place in my heart. It’s an ancient town, and not very populous nowadays (434 people). It’s been occupied since 2200-2300 B.C., being near salt fountains which made it — back then — a trading center. Over 1000 shafts were dug in the search for salt by between 500 and 800 slaves. In the 9th Century a church was begun — which remains to this day. And every time I return to France I return also to this little hamlet at the beginning of my journey.
The bicycles leaned up against the well struck my imagination on the visit when I made this image. If you could see the terrain — and the steep hill leading up to the church you’d appreciate why the bicycles are parked here at the bottom of the hill instead of having been ridden to the church.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be be a slave toiling in a mine. Humanity’s history of enslaving one another is not a closed story, we continue doing so today in a variety of ways; some legal, others illegal. Some of us are enslaved by iron chains, others by debt, by or the need to eat. Some have found voluntary servitude, many have been enslaved by others.
This image is idealized. Life is not.