20th? Friday .
Incredible day, again! All the art finished first thing in the morning a symposium, ah I forgot to mention that the weather had broken yesterday, thunder and heavy rain came.. So the excursion via coach was to a national park that Shishkin used to frequent and drawn inspiration from.
Imagine a coach tour which then required a 15 minute walk, many of the ladies in sandals and nice dresses, normal for Russians. No sooner than we wee in the wood that I saw a snake, the equivalent of a grass snake. Everything here is – like a parallell universe – the same but different, a dark grey snake with yellow spots by head. Late I saw a greater spotted woodpecker. No sign of the boar. Beavers and moose which also live in this forest, the forest was gorgeous. Pines, spruce birch and deciduous trees, their birch are taller, the hazel leggier, the elderberry red. As if the forest Wasn’t beautiful enough, and the tales of Shiskin carrying his 17lb easel into the forest, we then arrived at a bronze age site with a holy spring which now has a shrine, with icons, flowers , a cat, and beautiful wooden piping to allow you to drink from the clear crisp water. The trees were all bedecked with ribbons, like our Scottish Cloutie wells, it was so magical.
I used my teeth to bite off part of my top so I too could make a wish, the same wish I made when I placed my hand on the tower at dawn, and when I saw the shooting star. We then saw the small lake nearby. There was also at the spring a place where you could shower in the cold clear holy water an enclosed wall, our guide led the way stripping down to shorts and going into the freezing water with woops, a couple of the guys also went for it, and with the place being so special and magical I couldn’t not also take my baptism in the spring, kind of weird with 35+ people watching! So I stripped down to nickers and bra and dived in there, so so alive and simply reborn in the moment! Moments after coming out the skin and whole body tingling refreshed fantastic! Of course I had the task of trying to pull clothes on pull wet underwear off with dignity. Lynn, Meena and some more of the men went inn one by one, when the crowd moved on a couple of the Russian ladies also. It was fantastic.
I stopped for a moment and felt something I hadn’t felt in a long long time, a sense of something else something bigger something beyond, then ..Shinod wanted his photo taken with me. AGAIN! Thinking about it I wondered why we need solitude for spiritual peace, why can’t we let go also in a crowd?: all the western insecurity and fears, are they not borne of egocentricity ironic though it seems, it we were not so wrapped up in the pressure on the individual then we would not feel so inadequate, to immerse ourselves in the whole, in others, to let go, then we become free of the judgement we suffocate ourselves with. Talking of philosophy , as we walked back through the forest our guide discussed with the group, the question of what Shiskins work and the environment invoked, what it means to us… very russian, taking pride in thought and wisdom rather than cynicism and ignorance of the UK