Anders Boisen/ Soul Bearers, “Do Not Destroy Me”
At one time, perhaps 10 generations ago, a shoot pushed its way up through the moist earth, and became a tree; an oak, which grew for at least 100 years and became strong and beautiful. And then, this oak was felled, and with great care and precision cut into slats by master craftsmen who gave it new life as giant casks or barrels. These casks were filled with wine made by the loving hands of generations of winemakers. And, in those casks, the wine improved…drinking in the subtle flavors of the oak and imparting to the oak its own unique spirit. After this exchange, the wine was bottled and enjoyed with pleasure and appreciation.
Now, those trees which lent so much of themselves to the pursuits of man have nearly vanished. Most of the giant casks as well. They have been cut down into small pieces and burned. With them, their souls have been burned as well, and the souls of generations of winemakers, leaving nothing but the memory of a good glass of wine, and the fleeting scent of smoke.
However, among these giant casks, a few were salvaged and their curved bodies gently disassembled. Each slat measures 80 inches in length, and 4-6 inches in width. They have been painted with the respect of the culture that they represent and embody. Now, it is they who carry the history and the soul of the wine. It is a souvenir of that which was. This teaches us that we may destroy and burn, but we cannot rid ourselves of our history. History will always be in us, and we should honor it.
And so, these painted slats become Soul-Bearers, which we have no right to destroy, but, an obligation to preserve. Hence the French inscription: Soul-Bearers “Do not destroy me”.