If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now? Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
If someone were to ask me, ‘Where do you want to be right now?’, I’d probably immediately picture myself in a quiet place on the beach, surrounded by palm trees and crystal clear blue water. Sun blazing, clean sand – what a dream! Saying this is where I would like to be is very tempting. Nice and easy to write about, and saves the hassle of trying to express deep emotions. Plus, no one will ever question my reasons, will they!
However. This is not what this assignment is about! Is it. So, deep breath, and… go. The place where I’d like to be is… a Russian cemetery. Peace, silence, serenity, sadness, history, respect. It sends you to another dimension.
If you want to stick to reality, you should say that you are surrounded by death all around.
Or, you can choose to think the other way: you are surrounded by eternity.
This is where I wanted to go many years ago when I was at uni. While writing my dissertation, I concentrated my research on Yury Dombrovsky, a talented Soviet dicident writer. He was my idol for years. I did lots of research on him, won a scholarship and rather than spending the money, I saved it all for a visit to Moscow. Not for a leisure trip, but to work in archives and libraries. I had two other goals whilst there: to meet his widow and visit his grave. Both accomplished. Both were milestones in my idealistic youth which I still cherish. I hardly ever mention them to anyone, though, worried not to look weird.
This is all buried in the past now, many years ago down Memory Lane. My research never took off, and am sure that I will never get to visit that place again. Somehow, though, this is irrelevant, as I always keep the memory of it.
As well as the memory of the strange enchantment I felt when I reached the cemetery. I seemed to either had taken the wrong bus, or got off at the wrong bus stop. When I came out, I was totally mesmerised by the view. The yellow leaves of autumn, the weak September sun and the golden domes of a snow-white enormous Orthodox temple looked surreal. A sight that will remain with me for the rest of my days.
This is why, when I say that this grave has a symbolic meaning to me, I don’t just mean that it commemorates a big writer’s life. It is a symbol of my own youth and buried aspirations. Of something I wanted to achieve, and never will. As sad as this sounds, it is not. I have chosen another path in life, for good or bad, but deep down in me I keep fond memories of this place and what it symbolises for me.
But what was the path you did not chose then? (if I am allowed to ask of cause)
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Working as uni, researching Dombrovskiy… This is what I wanted to do, but the situation in my home country didn’t allow me to.