Page 79 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 79

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                                                                                            A Farm in
                                                                                         Eastern Siberia.

                   between villages, and I am overwhelmed by the distance from what in the
                   west might be defined as “civilization,” I am reminded of Tolstoy’s words, “I
                   felt  a  wish  that  my  present  frame  of  mind  might  never  change.”  In  St.
                   Petersburg, I walked past the train station dozens of times over the course
                   of two decades and never gave it a glance. But in these regions, the railroad
                   stations become the focus of the lives of locals. The train is their commerce,
                   and we are their customers, their connection to the rest of the world, their
                   topic of conversation and their method for keeping track of time. We all have

                   our own reasons to travel through Siberia, and each of the stations of the
                   crossing has its purpose beyond the simple ritual of passengers boarding
                   and  disembarking.  It  is  mail  depot,  food  court  for  old  women  selling
                   homemade goods, gathering spot for children home from school, and they
                   all bear it well, conduct their business well.

                   Marshes sometimes appear, or fields of grass and hay, and wheat, and runs
                   of grazing land with scattered cattle seemingly without guidance. A shack
                   appears, and wires run along the rail. Every hour or so a few roads converge
                   around  a  few  houses,  and  a  car  rolls  to  a  stop  next  to  the  tracks,  and  I
                   wonder where it is going. It can’t be east, I foolishly believe, since it seems
                   to  me  there  isn’t  anything  in  the  east  except  that  mysterious  and  vast
                   nothingness which awaits us through the great northern forest. I will soon
                   discover  I’m  wrong,  but  the  vastness  I  see  outside  the  windows  in  these
                   passages becomes even more barren as we move closer to the eastern edge
                   of “European Russia,” so much so, in fact, that eventually the only visible
                   life is our own

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