Slide into the cold and dark
“I can’t believe the things you say. I can’t believe, I can’t believe the price we pay.”
— “. . . And Justice for All,” Metallica
I’ve been cold a lot recently. It’s winter, the temperatures have waggled around a fair bit, the wind picks up more than I’d like, and I spend a lot of time outside. Walking to and from the school, picking up groceries, attending committee meetings, meandering along the river. It’s my favorite time of year, the months I dream of when the interminable, sunny days of summer send me scurrying for shade and water. I love living and moving around in a place with long, cold, dark winters. Yet I am cold. I am cold now, in my own house as I type this while wearing a sweater, and was cold this morning when I walked the dog. I crave being warm. In the cold.
What is sacrificed to meet my desires? What resources do I demand to make myself comfortable in the climate I profess to enjoy?
How much of the planet does each of us require for our basic needs, much less our pleasure, our comfort, our leisure and ease? Our warmth.
The photos in this post are all from a couple of months I spent in Russia in 2005: Sergeiv Posad, the home of Russian Orthodoxy, up top; houses in the village of Aleksandrov where a museum dedicated to my stepmother’s great-aunt Marina Tsvetaeva (along with Ivan the Terrible’s castle) is located; and at the bottom a craft market on a sub-zero day in the ancient village of Suzdal, in what’s known as the Golden Ring of Russia.
That day in Suzdal is one that sits with me due to the sheer depth of the cold. I’d taken a train from Moscow out to Vladimir, a city known for its bread-baking factories and for having been burned flat by the invading Golden Horde in the 1200s. The people around me spent the ride sipping vodka and cheap Baltika beer, and I gave up trying to read my Russian detective novel in the near-freezing train car and stared out the window.
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