Day and night
With a sigh, I decided it’s time to start my first day here. And the first thing on tap was to head to the sea. I’d unpack the groceries I’d brought from the city later. The base with this house was on a sort of plateau, midway from the ridge to the sea. It seemed like the coast was not that far, probably half a kilometer or so – a nice walk down the mountain, at a brisk pace, and then I’d be dipping my feet in the scintillating water.
But for starters, let’s have some coffee.
To do that, I have to haul some water from a spring in the forest. I was warned about that as well: Yes, there is water at the base, but it’s so-called technical water. Only good for showering and washing dishes. Drinkable at your own risk, even after a great deal of boiling. But there was a spring in the forest, just a short walk away. That’s where the house inhabitants of the past had gotten their drinking water. Not a walk, though, Klaus had warned, but a trip. Then he pointed at a cart next to the doorsteps, with a handle as long as he was tall, and still packed with white plastic canisters.
I grab the handle and pull the cart, rattling, up the rutted trail, gray with mountain dust.
The natural spring turned out to be like everything here – military solid. Not wild at all, and in quite good condition. Nothing like what one might expect to see in the mountains. When I found it, I almost mistook it for a well: a concrete rim, only without a cast-iron cover. But on coming closer and bending over it, I realized it is indeed a forest spring with transparent water that looked a bit greenish in the shade. Pure and inviting in the midday heat. I cup my palm, daring to sip it. Hard to my taste, probably from the high level of limescale, not at all like industrially softened water in bottles. I fill the canisters and put them into the cart one by one. On the way back, the cart, though full, rattles the same way.
My new Robinson Crusoe life begins.
The coffee, despite such hard water, didn’t disappoint at all. Good city coffee. The day begins in quite a familiar way.
I stuff the backpack with those few things I might really need at the sea. Walking into a glade, just beyond the driveway, I behold the panoramic sea view below, beneath my very feet. A dark silhouette of a submarine slithers through the water, presumably headed for Balaclava, the nearest town here. The mountains surround me in a semicircle. For a moment I feel like I’m in an ancient amphitheater. But there is life all around me, and it’s brimming with energy.
My walk down resembles something akin to a botanical tour of the peculiarities of Crimean nature. Back on the plateau, where that sort-of hunting reserve is located and where my “home” stands, deciduous forest ensconces everything; the air is humid, and grayish clay soaked from the recent rains sticks to your sandals. Further down, the oaks and linden trees give way to pines and junipers; the air becomes dry and hot, the true southern sea climate; the insane chirping of cicadas now surrounds me from every side. I descend further. The forest path turns into a hiking trail. Now I make my way among yellowish-red boulders – and finally reach the sea.
I could see Mys Aya, a prominent cape visible everywhere from this part of the South Coast. And farther, nor far away but still over the mountain pass – Balaclava. Somewhere near should be the famous Crimean “wild beaches” Batiliman and Laspi.
However, the place where I reach the sea looks quite secluded. Somewhere in the distance, right behind the forest fringe, a few tents have been set up, almost on the cliff over the water. But the rest of the area is open to view and… vacant, my urban mind promptly suggests.
I walk to the edge of the water. The greenish wave sparkles in the sunlight. My first, quite unexpected thought: I’m here, at the sea – so what? The sea is like the sea should be, green and wet. So what am I doing here, actually? Maybe instead of hiding from my problems, I should be working on solving them? There, at home, instead of staying in a “home”?
Somehow, this unexpected turn of thought makes me feel uneasy. I look around: the afternoon cliffs seem watchful, as if calmly expecting my next move. You, the mental toxins of city life – you won’t spoil my freedom here, I proclaim somewhat ceremoniously and throw myself into the warm afternoon sea water.
Climbing back up the mountain slope in the afternoon heat, I find the ascent rather difficult: It took me about twenty minutes to get down to the sea; the ascent probably drags on for twice as long. It’s not that I’m unaccustomed to such energetic brisk walking, but it’s a completely different thing in the mountains, without training. And yet it was just as picturesque and engaging: like a movie tape rewound backwards, through familiar places, but seen from a different perspective.
The evening did not come for a long time. But then, as it is in the south, the sun quickly fell below the horizon, and the sky darkened: I stare at the stars, as if I’d never seen them before. I even ask myself if I’ve ever seen a sky as beautiful as this. Or maybe it’s just because it’s so different here in the mountains – this starry night sky – for someone used to the orange haze hanging over the urban night.
As I’m nodding off, the moon shines through my window. It is still without any curtains or blinds. I feel uneasy. Tossing and turning from side to side, I tell myself I should get up and somehow curtain off the window. But I don’t feel like getting up, either. I look around the dimly lit room, hoping to spot a blanket or something suitable for a screen. Maybe there is something like that in one of the remaining rooms.
The moonlight is too bright, however. I have to get up. Like a sleepwalker, I walk through the other rooms, from one to another. Yes, I see what Klaus meant when he mentioned that only one room had been renovated. All the others look really desolate… in ruins. In the light of the moon that follows me from window to window, they look creepy. Who wrecked this? And would they do the same to my room… to me? Break into this house. Invade my life. Destroy it, shatter it, under the watchful but indifferent moon?
Just you try it, I tell myself. Has it been a long time since anyone gave you a good beating? And what if it’s them who will beat me? No, they won’t. I’ll kick back, no matter how many of you there are. But… barehanded? I’ll find something tomorrow, something really handy and heavy. And I’ll keep it near me, certainly at night. The thought of this heavy something calms me. I lie down on the same bed I just got up from, without finding anything suitable to use as a curtain. The old rusty bed springs sigh soothingly. The mattress is slippery, but that doesn’t keep me from falling asleep right away.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
1. Crimea – Buildings and caves in Crimean Mountains – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top left), 2. Crimea – Fortress Moutain – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top right), 3. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Anastasia Clark (Unsplash) (top and middle), 4. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Feniks (Shutterstock), 5. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – NeekZin (Shutterstock), 6. Crimea – Crimean Mountains Plateau – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed