Working on a Boat Through Russia
The whispering of the free growing grass whistled through the wind and into my ear. I could hardly make out the words. It was more of an understanding that I dare not complicate with the the written language. A tickling of both excitement and confusion spread an interesting blend of feelings through the tips of every hair on my body. “You are in Russia… feel the energy from the smiling forests and the pain of the oldest building.” Such contrasting emotions that merge under the same name: Russia. The confusion arose as I first stepped off the plane and headed for the boat I would later inhabit while following the currents of the rivers from St. Petersburg to Moscow. People were smiling, and they all had ten fingers and ten toes. Can you imagine? The scary thing was the similarities that connect Russia to the United States, all the way down to the methods of propaganda used to strike fear into the citizens and cause hatred between brothers. What a shock this was after growing up in the States, listening over and over again to the jaded views of America that slandered all nations of humanity which “endanger” democracy. That in itself is quite ironic coming from such a nation, (but that is a topic I choose to come back to on a later date.) All in all, both Regimes have been responsible for a horrendous number of murders. The important thing is to not judge the individual by the actions of “their” government.
In this tiny village I will leave unnamed, rests an eroding convent. One could watch the bricks fall from the sky one by one. The musty smell of true history followed my every step. Women that appeared to be older than the United States itself hobbled down the cobble stones, another planting the garden. The dogs and cat obided by another language, but met my eyes and no words needed to be spoken. A lonely traveller greeted with smiles. It would be difficult for me to travel any other way. I skated through a hole in a wall and found a hidden canal catches glimpses of the sunlight as the father peers through the holy roof. A temple, whispers inside. Frescos and painted icons inhabited every wall. An intense emotion rushed through my vein, splintered by the voice of a Danish tour guide, “Can you please control your American tourists, they are disrepecting the nuns and their home.” The yelling began from the throat of a tourist. And it struck me with a blow I shall never forget. I awoke and realized that I was the “assistant” tour leader for 90 Americans. Tears watered my cheeks as I demanded their exit from this powerful relic. Some of my youthful optomism died that day as I woundered aimlessly through the streets. Through my expressions, sign language spoke for me apologizing for the intrusion to every local I passed. Sure they get money from the tours, but at what price? It is not for me to say because I never go hungry.
With an effort to keep from judging my company on board the cruise vessel, I realized that these 90 Americans represented a survey of humanity itself. Every type of person was represented, the good with the bad (if I may be so black and white). Letting a bad experience jade my view of them all would be comitting the same error that is performed when people confuse the action of one with the entire nation of people. What an opportunity I was given to experience the wounders of a world that is off limits to many. After the last was in bed each eve, the ship appeared to be more of a ghost town. The doors would then close and the fun would begin. Four hours the sunsets would merge with the sunrises as we floated through the land of forbidden nights. Oranges shimmering off the peaks of swaying water. A Tatar, a Georgian, a Russian. a Dane and an American sat together sipping wine, talking in many tongues, and dancing to Russian folk music as the miracles of nature float by. An overwhelming sensation stirred in the depths of my soul: the love for life!
On a fodbold pitch deep within Russia I ran side by side with the sailors in a friendly match. Slipping and sliding in my caterpillar shoes and jeans over the patchy mud-grass I realized something beautiful. Would I rather be playing Professional European football in Denmark or knocking the ball around with these young Russians in the middle of nowhere? Laugher lights up the particles of fresh air all around. We were not in the middle of nowhere; we were in the center of our world! I had already answered that question by being there. It took me much time and a professional contract to realize that my childhood love for the game is something that cannot be put on desplay or critisized. It only is defiled when you turn into a bar code that can run and earn money for the owners. In one way or another my inner-being has consented to every thing that has taken place in my life, the amazing moments and the rough ones. I will not speak for others, but it is something to think about.
Walking into this room of the most incredable accustics five men lit up the heavens with such display of vocals you woundered if it was humanly possible. Anything is possible! The music snuggled up beside me to unselfishly warming my soul. With gentle notes and blood bound screams, a key was offered in that room to all those whom are numb. If you are looking for advice on life: Do not drive in moscow!