In the summer of 2000, when we moved to Canada, our dear friends, Ira and Lionja have bought a log house in Babje, a village in the north of the Tver region.
As we ventured to explore the dimensions across the expanses of land, sea, and “civilisation” to the west, they took a different journey into the heart of the Russian summer, generous and bountiful, mysterious and unpredictable, well, just like the famous Russian soul.
Lionja and Ira stayed at their new house that summer of 2000 and loved it so much that when the autumn came they were sad to leave back to city of Tver. They returned the following spring miltsov.org/travel/photos2001) and that year stayed in Babje until late autumn. The third time they returned in early spring of 2002, they stayed.
The story of our friends and their photos, usually, evoke strong emotions from many people, who seem to be threatened by the possibility that there may exist a better, easier, and more pleasant way of living.
“But this is not possible for the average person. Your friends must be rich”.
“They must be lazy, dreamy, unrealistic, and irresponsible. Good that they’re in the boonies out of the civilised way”.
“They must be slaving in poverty. Miserable. Hungry. Overworked. Don’t you have it tough over there in Russia?”
These are some of the more frequent comments that usually roll off the tongue before our interlocutors even have attempted to enquire or find out about how people live around the world and who they might be.
Deep inside, perhaps, these aggressive defenders of “civilised”, money oriented values suspect of other, more peaceful and harmonious ways of living that would render meaningless their toil and aspirations and instead of saving the remaining of their lives, they desperately attempt to cling to the illusion that renders their investment – which in reality is of zero value and less – profitable. So, they argue that they have to go to their jobs in their office space everyday, they have to vote for people who would force them to buy or work for health care because working indoors, stressing on artificial coffee and food, vitamins that cure one thing and deplete another, sleep deprivation, expensive transportation, the right uniform miltsov.org/travel/photosor fashion) on which they have to spend much of their income so as to ensure the income, the rents that feed some landlords or the mortgages that feed some bankers, etc. all of which deplete their life-forces and health and in turn they make sure that they deplete the life-forces and health of others and call it “international” or “global” society heading towards a glorious and democratic “market economy” finale. All this investment and the promise of its return – be it here on earth in the form of material bliss and status or in the skies, which also looks like material bliss and status – are mere illusions that exist simply because of people’s belief. A simple belief that this is THE way!
So, what are our friends doing there?
They live. They make babies. They create art. They walk in the forest. They drink from the beautiful river. They spend wonderful and creative time with their miltsov.org/travel/photosnow five) children and they can do all that because they have to work much-much less than those who live in “civilisation”.
The following pictures are from our June 2005 visit, during which time we also travelled on the river in kayaks.
View of the bountiful river.
Knight Tihon miltsov.org/travel/photos3) welcomes us.
Russian cowboys: Fadei miltsov.org/travel/photos6), Makar miltsov.org/travel/photos5), Tihon miltsov.org/travel/photos3).
May and Layla