It’s time for the dacha

The Roza Azora Gallery, Moscow
from the 30 of May to the 17 of June 2012

Don’t make any plans for this Saturday, Katia called and we are going to the dacha, from one dacha to another, from Peredelkino to Snegiri, the usual route. Happy children will lock up in the kids’ little house where they will have a full array of old, heavy, iron toy cars collected by grandpa and you will not be able to smoke them out, even though smoke will be plentiful at the dacha, that nostalgic tarry pine cone smoke from the samovar that Katia got for her birthday and somehow got upset and we were comforting and teasing her about a new great chance to drink tea by the bucket. It’s tea with jam, yes, Mom makes it in a copper pan with a long handle, yes, it’s strawberry season now, the smell spreads around the whole old log house with the roof painted saturnine red, and the squeaky window frames are of course white. When you look through these windows, especially if you squint your eyes, you can fancy that everything outside is a stained glass artwork, yes, it’s an easy trick when peonies are blooming, or in the fall, when leaves burst with colors, or in summer, the time of orange marigolds (Grandma called then black eyebrows) and your favorite blue hydrangeas. And the path would be leading to the gazebo, Katia’s invention, maybe woven like a cobweb from all those age-old window frames with panes, a fragile tent where we sit in the shadow on hot days, or on rainy days, or on sort-of-already cold days because a makeshift stove there can be started for some heat, even it’s snowing outside. Katia’s dacha is home to precious old smells and half-forgotten sounds of childhood that live a spectral life of their own. A washstand clanks and purls, an ancient sewing machine busses softly, though it has no one to use it – everybody is at the table, pouring wine from a carafe into colored glasses and feasting on tiny pies with onion and egg. Sasha loves them, but I do not know how to bake them; Uzbek pilaf is my specialty, that’s what the Rozhkovs have today, and so we travel from one dacha to another, from Snegiri to Peredelkino, the usual route, pray make no other plans for Saturday.

Maya Kononenko (Yakut)