March 28th by STAS TURINA

A few more pages.

Our house is next to the forest. Behind the fence there’s the forest, a belt road, and then Irpin’.
Yesterday Katya and I worked in the garden (at first I misprinted and wrote “in hades”). Planted some things. Fed the neighbors’ dogs. I won’t tell you about my days in detail just yet, there are a million details, all of them interesting.

Even before (this “before” is now synonymous with “before the 24th”), the forest echoed back fear. Our street and the adjacent street are always deserted in the fall and winter. People drive cars here, few walk. Is this the kind of garden Bulgakov’s Master dreamt of? The shudderings of the house no longer scare me; as long as the windowpanes are intact and the sounds far off, we are safe. The screeching of gunfire spurts in the forest has become similar to a bird’s. We have our own woodpecker too; he doesn’t live in the garden but comes to visit. The trees are sick, and he has enough food. Spring is wild this year. The water near the house is frozen again. Hello! It’s March 28th! I call out to my relatives in Kazakhstan. Why to them, exactly? I don’t know. Maybe not to them.

Good deeds must be kept secret. And I tell everyone. Not so much about good deeds, but about the mechanisms of good. About God. When I talk to people about God, something changes in me. A small good deed is a big beginning. What can this be compared to? For example, to the size of a 5mg pill, to the size of a needle and thread. The action of a small deed is like the removal of a stone or leaves from the watercourse of a spring. Small unresolved deeds are rolling pins (splinters, in Russian) that get in the way of living through work, plans, and well, everything, in short.

The house is humming with shelling. It’s as if the underworld is breaking out. But in vain. Vain efforts.

In the morning I understood and told Katya: “I have found the path to victory.” It sounds silly and it’s making me smile too. Here is the path: find one useful activity each day. At least one. And do it. God, it all sounds so much like psychiatric rehabilitation. Like when grandma and grandpa made me work, in 2013, and then for five more years. Though really, at first, there was no work to do. They just wouldn’t let me do it. Because they found their jobs in the house, orchard, and garden on their own. And they were copyrighted, they didn’t want to share them. In the beginning—and all these five years were the beginning—I had to wash, sweep, just help. They didn’t let me do a job from A to Z. Soon after Katya and I started doing something full cycle in the village in our lean-to, my grandfather died. Now, these days, I look for jobs to do. So the day passes. Sometimes I fall asleep accidentally in the evening. Work makes for good sleep and a good appetite. There is strength enough for jokes and no time for anger. I quickly tell someone “goodbye,” and then go do something.

“Nature is dead.” That’s what Myroslav Yahoda once told me. The photo is a view from the windows of his studio. Myroslav. He is one of the people who taught me that life is not a joke. Though I did not fully learn this. I look out of the window, and there are trees and grasses that will not tell me anything like you will. And yet sometimes they say something, they speak Universe. Myroslav heard angelic choirs, he told me. I was asking him something about trees. What did he say to me that night? I was telling him about love, about a craftswoman who leaves no traces, I was elusive, concealed the name of my beloved.

“Cities are people,” a friend of mine told me once. Cities, cities… To see Ilya, Anton, Larysa, Sasha, Misha, Serhiy, Sasha, Yan, Zhanna, Valera, these days.

Conclusions disappear in pilgrimage, as the end disappears in the process of laying out a mandala of bread crumbs and pieces of porcelain. To write a text, to speak out loud. Who makes a mandala of someone else’s hair? : 12:00

To the sound of Irpen’s liberation we treated the orchard. It thundered in a new way now. Something about sex.

Working the orchard as a meaningless occupation first flowed from my own hands today, this practice was grafted onto me by grandfather Turina, on the streets they called his father Root. I seem to be of some rootful kin. Right now someone from this kin may be mobilized from Shakhtarsk or Debaltseve. I don’t know if they know anything about their great-grandfather. And I know little myself. He taught my father about life. Like my grandfather did me. A family tradition, it turns out. Anyways, I’m tired. The wind and air do away with any excess energy. I’ll eat some mayonnaise. I’m fat.

Yesterday they sent us humanitarian aid. Mood’s like the time when they sent us humanitarian aid in the 90s. Everything is so other-colored.

It seems to me that I will be able to kill a person, but this is not certain. : 20:37

First photo: view from Myroslav Yahoda’s studio
Second photo: our orchard

translated by Lisa Biletska