Winter journey, eastern melancholy and fado

40 kilometres and 30 minutes drive from the busy downtown, road across the boreal forest of majestic, soaring pines and firs, all covered with thick layer of snow. I can’t imagine a week without a trip to this primeval forest. It is one of these places, where you are not able to believe that God does not exist. Silence, mystery, beauty and emotion, intuition that He is.

But the outskirts of the forest are not less mysterious and beautiful. When you add to all of these melancholic fado flowing slowly from the car speakers and interviewd fado singer Mariza talking about her love of journeys and Portuguese melancholy, it gets just real wonder!


to be continued…

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Colours of the autumn, Lura, Kapuscinski and melancholic journey

Gentle, melancholic music flowing from the car’s speakers, it is Lura, straight from Portugal and Cape Verde at the same time. It is thousands miles away, but I feel as if this music were rooted here, in all these landscapes, I am passing by. It harmonizes so perfectly with all melancholy hidden in all these hills, groves, forests, fields and villages.

About 10 years ago I read “Heban” by Ryszard Kapuscinski. He wrote about his journeys to Africa, and I remembered perfectly one of the stories from this book, when author met on the bus an African, young male, silent and shy person. They started speaking, and that guy told Kapuscinski story of his melancholy, maybe even light depression. And his descrpition was done in such common, universal language (in sense of the meaning), that we at once realize – in the same way we could describe our emotional states, our existential experience, in Europe, in United States, and probably everywhere in the world. It was the langauage of our common fate, of our common human experience. One of the most beautiful messages of that fragment is that in our deepest emotions, thoughts, psychic states and our fate we are the same, and there are always things, which unite and bind us.

The same thing I felt while driving the car, contemplating all these melancholic landscapes and listening Lura’s music.

Autumn memories – melancholic countryside – part 2

Lightly hilly landscapes, all colours of the autumn – red, yellow, brown, orange and still green forests, grasses and picturesque groves; small villages lost between delicate hills; medieval hill forts, in 11th – 13th centuries, belonging to Ruthenians, some of them from 14th century were established by Lithuanians; many of the Ruthenian hill forts got conquered and burnt probably by Yotvingians – last Indians of Europe – as called them Polish Noble Prize Winner Czeslaw Milosz – the mysterious tribe of Baltic origin, totally destroyed by Teutonic Knights. Tiny and cozy wooden houses with their gable roofs and open to guests – porches, wooden crosses by the side of the roads. And all of these in the mystic rays of the setting autumn sun. Dostoevsky used to say: “Beauty will save the world”, and he was right!


Autumn memories – melancholic countryside

Even a walk to the shop may be a journey, spiritual journey of course.

One Saturday autumn afternoon, we set out to the countryside, north of Bialystok. It is only 30 minutes’ drive from the downtown, and we set off to to see all these melancholic, beautiful landscapes – gentle, small green hills; yellow, green, red and brown pine, fir, birch and larch groves; cozy and picturesque villages with their tiny wooden houses, and gentle autumn sun.

I hope you will forgive me this truism, but in such beauty one gets sure that God exists. In every kind of beauty.

Bike trip to Knyszynska Forest

It seems that real spring has sprung at last. Today we had almost 20 degrees Celsius and a lot of sunshine. We could take off our shirts, sweaters, jackets and wear only t-shirts. After a long break – lasting almost 6 months we were able to take a bike trip to Knyszynska Forest, set off at 2 p. m. across the busy town. To go through the busy, jammed town may be a really traumatic expereince, and in fact it was so today. Fortunately thanks to EU funds municipal authorities build more and more bicycle paths in Bialystok and we used one of them to reach Suprasl – small, picturesque town, about 15 kilometres from Bialystok.

Orthodox church in Suprasl

It is an Orthodox church in Suprasl. First Orthodox church in Suprasl was built in the end of the 15th century. It was blew up by withdrawing German Nazis in 1944.

In Suprasl bicycle path ends and later on we went the road to Krynki, all the time across beautiful and old Knyszynksa forest. After passing a few kilometres we turn right, asphalt ended and we entered the real kingodm of the primeval forest.

Road to Budzisk Reserve in Knyszynska Forest.

“Entrance” to Budzisk Reserve in Knyszynska Forest.

As far as I am personally concerned, especially bike trips makes me fell free, they provide me with a kind of methaphysical sense of happiness and freedom. Forest itself in turn appears to be a real sanctuary for me, it is a place when I am able to believe in God and get rid of all my fears; a place for a deep contemplation and meditation. Real sanctuary…

In the middle of Budzisk reserve.

On our way home we started joking that this forest reminds us of “Blair Witch Project” and for sure it also has its witch whom one day we will meet 😉 There are many interesting and mysterious forest stories told by forest village inhabitants about ghosts, devils, but about them next time…

Fascination with evil – heights of hypocrisy

Today morning I take a short break and read an interveiw with famous and respected Polish actor. He speaks about his fascination with villains in theatre. Later on journalists recalls actor’s words: “Once You told that for good actor intelligence is only an obstacle and good actor has to be a m…ucker.”

At once I recollected an interview with an American young actress read a few years ago – I do not remember her name and surname – who was talking about one – sidedness and unambiguity of goodness and attractiveness of evil.

Tha fact is, many people consider goodness a boring thing. Undoubtedly in our contemporary culture fascination with evil exists and appears to be strong.

Several times I was even suprised by my friends who stated that evil gives the life taste and colour. But with regard to them I had an occassion to see how they behaved and how they got indignant when some kind of harm or injustice touched them. They were not able to understand how it could happen that evil met just them, raised hue and cry about such an evident insult and injustice, spoke about unethical and immoral behaviour of their evildoer, forgetting thier words about intriguing and healthy dose of evil.

So, for sure, evil is OK, is nice, gives the life taste and colour, makes life bearable and more interesting, but only on condition that does not concern us.

Generation JP II

The anniversary of John Paul II’s death is coming and again – as every year – discussions concerning Generation JP II are going to begin.

I remember the day when Pope died, it was – in some sense – a great day in Poland, almost a kind of feast. People felt united, got kind to each othe, tried to be better. They spontaneously left their houses and met in front of or inside the churches to be together, to pray together, many of them were even unbelievers. That day and some period afterwards people wanted to be together, they wanted to be close and supportive to each other.

It was even a kind of revolution – I remeber that in Bialystok the faith prayed in the cathedral when a priest came and made them leave the church because it was late in the naight, but people resisted him – they told him that church is theirs, not him, and he is not just an official who closes and opens the church. There were more such cases in whole Poland.
Some Polish sociologists and philosopheres proclaimed the existence of generation JP II. Many young people started wearing t-shirts with inscriptions “We are the generation JP II”, many of them named themselves “generation JP II”. It became almost a fashion, but fashion is often shallow, quickly changes and disappears. Unfortunately those enthusiastic declarations did not found reflection in everyday life. For several days, maybe for several weeks people were really better, but shortly after all those positive behaviours started fading, interpersonal relationships worsened and returned to the state as they were before. Still Polish society has the lowest rate of mutual trust (social trust) among European societies – as sociological researches prove.

Sociologists and philosophers declarations turn out to be just a wishful thinking.

Personally I was sceptical about generation JP II. I observed people who proudly called themselves generation JP II and thought it is enough to go to church, to be a member of a spirtual community, attend its meetings, to become a volunteer in a nongovernmental or charity organization, forgetting at the same time about everyday hard work in the field of interpersonal relations, forgetting about being honest, loving, kind, helpful, supportive in boring, everyday situations, not in spectacular ones. Such an everyday improvement in interpersonal relations, in public life, in mutual trust is still absent.

A few days ago I read an interview with a philosopher who told that feast is a short period, that feasts do not occur every day. He tried to convince that improvement in interpersonal relations will come, that too short period has passed to judge if John Paul II’s teaching has really influenced young people.

Let us hope he is right…