Sunday trips may not exist without music. Two weeks ago I had happines to listen to on the radio an interesting interview with Portuguese fado singer – Mariza and admire and even touch melancholic winter landscapes, which harmonized so perfectly with her full of postive nostalgy fado songs flowing from the car speakers.
Mariza talked about her love of journeys and Portuguese melancholy. Almost whole my life I had an intuition that expereicne of melancholy is common for us all, wherever we live, and it only may be different in its tones, but never in essence. My intuition got true when I heard that Portugese fado, from far western Europe almost on the eastern outskirts of the continent.
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!
Since the second half of the 18th century Bialystok (at present in northeastern Poland, then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) got a multicultural town inhabited by Poles, Jews, Russians, Belarusians, Tatars and Germans as well. First Germans appeared here as officials of Prussian Government. As a result of Poland’s partitions (after the third partition which was held in 1795) Bialystok was taken over by Prussia. In the first half of the 19th century Germans appeared here in most cases as owners and highly qualified workers of textile factories. It was the time Bialystok when was even called – “Manchester of the North”.
German culture was thriving. As a natural consequence of that settlement evangelical church and cemetery were established. The pictures which are published below depict German cemetery which was set up in the second half of the 19th century in ditrict town called “Wygoda”.
After the Second World War, during the communist regime, on the part of the cemetary were built block of flats and was created park.
Mausoleum and quarter of German soldiers who fell during the First World War.
Some Germans living in Bialystok became assimilated into Polish culture, mainly in the interwar period. German traces still exist in the form of surnames of Bialystok’s inhabitants. On the part of the left former evangelical cemetary was created lapidarium. Unfortunately, the huge part of necropoly was destroyed irreversibly, as I mentioned above, during the communist times.
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!
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.
About one week ago, in Knyszynska Forest, boreal forest in the north eastern Poland.
Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to take the picture of the small doe, staring at me with interest. It was waiting, standing on the road as enchanted, but I could not take my camera out of the case, as my fingers were stiffen, and when at last I managed to do it, it just ran to the the forest and disappeared between pines and firs…
Boreal forest, almost 20 kilometres north of quite big town (300.000 inhabitants) – Knyszynska Forest, not more than 30 minutes drive from the downtown, taking into account staying in traffic jams. Mystic, majestic and mysterious primeval forest.
I leave my car on the sandy road and walk it down. That road is straight as an arrow, on the both sides of it – slender, soaring pines and firs, only sometimes I may notice maples, ashes, elms, sycamores or birches. Traces of the does, elks, deers, wild boars on the sand. Sometimes it is possible to hear the tramp of the fleeing unnoticeable animals.
And I am recalling the story read in a local magazine about a woodsman, who found somewhere here part of the sword’s edge lost in the Middle Ages…