Leaving No Shadow
I take the early morning train to Võhma (€1.06). An old town, chimneys, market gardens, small greenhouses. Men in cloth caps on bicycles. The only shop I find sells fertilizer and shovels. No breakfast for me.
I set out on the 22km walk to Suure-Jaani. Cross the Navesti river. An old grain processing plant on right, a stone warehouse on the left. This is flat, glacial land, fields greening, surrounded by walls of pine and birch. Wood farmhouses open to the welcome sun.
Late afternoon I arrive at Suure-Jaani, pop about 1,000. My guesthouse is on the river opposite the church.
Above the church, a cemetery; graves topped with soil, not sealed. They don’t leave picked flowers here, they plant them. Color everywhere, birdsong. Resting among the trees:
Folks in twos and threes, planting, raking. Many graves are of people born around the same time as me, buried 5 years ago, being raked.
Two kids flash past on bicycles, leaving hardly an image:
And evening houses reflect in the lake, ephemeral, against a long empty sky:
(events 3 May 2013)
16 Responses to “Leaving No Shadow”
Exquisite, Michael. Love all the reflection, especially… “ephemeral, against a long empty sky.” Beautifully done.
Thanks. I liked the reflections also – the water was so still, the evening so clear.
Beautiful reflections in every sense, Michael.
Your photographs and words are so gentle.
Thanks. It is inability to “cancel half a line nor wash away a word”.
Your cyclists also managed not to leave a shadow and maybe that is the big discovery for all of us from you journeying. It is not who we are or what we do that matters but simply being alive.
Yes, but it does leave one with slight feeling of melancholy.
That is possibly because of our human feeling of separation from the World unlike animal and plantlife which has no such alienation. Life is. We are born into a material world and we die after a particular time-span. The length of that time-span will be considered long or short according to our human standards and we call it a Life. This all sounds like analytical semantics however our attempt to understand the world is discussed in words and when the meaning of a word is misunderstood and misused then misconceptions are perpetuated. Life is. It is not a question of Life or Death. It is the existence of Life and the one time or repeated materialisation of Life in human, plant or animal form. This is not my ‘belief system’, it’s simply an observation; a possibility; a less melancholic view of existence. As you walk alone through the world, observing, encountering and experiencing, feel free to muse upon the idea that at these moments you are closer to real Life than at any other time. Unencumbered by identity you and your surroundings become one entity, one World.
Agree, except I think the melancholy comes not from alienation, but from knowing you will leave so much behind. Melancholy for your children, melancholy for your unborn grandchildren, melancholy for all the things you have not yet had time to see or learn…
Melancholy is certainly a justifiable expression when contemplating such things from a particular standpoint. Although literally translated as “black bile” I like Albrecht Durer’s interpretation as a state of waiting for inspiration to strike! When I am dead I should like those left living to smile or laugh when they think of me rather than linger in a feeling of sadness because I am no longer in material form. I like to think that my expressions of joy during my lifetime contribute to the chance for evolution in thinking about life and life as opposed to life and death. Happy journeys and be assured of a smile when you visit dragonshades.
Exquisite. That’s the word I was thinking of, too. A picturesque and seemingly far-off place, cut off from the rest of the world — almost magical in its separation. These pictures have me imaging a crisp cool day. You mentioned melancholy above. I sense that, too — from Estonia, and from all the world. I was particularly struck when you mentioned the graves of people nearly the same age as you.
Yes, that was sobering (as if I wasn’t sober enough as it is) 😉
Made me smile and reminded me of a very very old “reality/story” of yours before your writing style evolved to what it is now.
Something about alcohol, and an offered duck after…
“So instead I spoke well of her clear charms,” …but before….” but regretfully took my leave.”
I also connected with the dynamic stillness of falling clouds images in “Last Chance Saloon” & “Motherless Men” – Walking Armenia
I must disagree however upon viewing fleeting kids on bicycles etc in “Leave on Shadow” in Estonian Moonrise.
We all leave shadows and reflections, no matter how fleeting.
We are mostly ignorant of of the effects and possibilities they may or may not make.
They slowly merge into the noise of the universe, becoming undetectable or forgotten.
But they are still there, and become part of it.
Perhaps learning & understanding a little of it ….that’s what makes life worth it, plus being “cheated” by and old Armenian taxi driver.
PS re. The duck. Perhaps it needed more makeup?
yes, we do all leave shadows. but in the end they are all very faint.
Thanks. Yes, as you noticed, the sky in Estonia really is that blue.
🙂 thanks for reading!