“SOLOVYOVO” , the story of memory in a Russian village, Margaret Paxson, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, USA, 2005. A scientific dissertation by Margaret Paxon is written in a very scholastic way, with the map of Belozersky District, Vologda Region, lake Tikhvinskoye and surrounding villages, Northern Russia. At the same time, as the author says, Solovyovo is the fictitious name of a small village in the Belozerskii Raion of Vologodskaia oblast’ used to protect the name of the real villagers.
Nevertheless. This dissertation gives us an excuse to talk about real village life in real Russia.
1. Raissa, where were you born in Russia?
2. In the village Golovinovka, Voroshilovgrad Region.
1. Where is its exact location?
2. Do you know the mines of Krivorozhje?
1. Sure, I do. Somewhere in the South of the Russian Federation.
2. Definitely so. At those times my village GOLOVINOVKA had just one street and consisted of 25 homesteads.
1. Oh, really? It’s the same as the village in the North described by M. Paxson: ” Solovyovo: Summer fields fragrant with clovers. Quiet enough in winter to hear a cat’s footsteps in the snow. How its landscape filled with the traces of living, acting beings? How does memory inscribe itself into Solovyovo’s social space? ” (page 49).
Do you remember, Raissa, the village images of your childhood?
2. Childhood. That’s correct, you hit the nail.
I lived in GOLOVINOVKA for 18 years, all my childhood and youth. Memory brings me back to the blooming sun-flowers in our back yards, smell of freshly cut mushrooms from the nearby forest, haymaking and bathing in the river. Oh, beautiful time, never forgettable time of my young years!
1. Everywhere in the post the different photos of sun-flowers and others are scattered, it’s specially for you, Raissa. Swim on the waves of your native land memories.
By the way, did anybody in GOLOVINOVKA believe in domovoy, house, forest, field spirits?
2. Oh,yes. I personally believe in them.My eldest daughter’s son Maxim, 25, even sees them as real. He belongs to the society in Russia who shares the same spiritual visions as his.
1. It’s all very interesting, Raissa. I consider that Maxim had inherited your spirituality through genes.
2. Maybe. I do not know about that. But what I do know that our friendship is still strong after 11 years ago when we met each other and I am proud of it.
1. Thanks, Raissa.
At the end I am putting the video about spirits which are celebrated here, on the North-American continent, on October 31, Halloween Day, but in Russia throughout the whole year. Every day in Russia is a Halloween day, spirits live everywhere in Russia, and nobody is scared of them. Welcome, domovoy, leshiy and all the others! Halloween
A wonderful British romantic poet William Blake (1757-1827) composed the poem: “Ah! Sun-Flower”
Ah, Sun-Flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveler’s journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from the graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-Flower wishes to go.”