Everybody has such a special place. By getting back there we recollect all the days of our childhood. Today I’m going to tell the story about mine, especially since I have a wonderful chance to do this. It’s a small place near a town called Nizhniy Tagil. The name of the village – Chernoistochinsk. I know sounds pretty long, peculiar and tongue-twisting to non-Russian-speaking people. By the way, I met a few native speakers, who didn’t come easily with it too.
A little history pause: in 18-19th centuries, during the exploitation of the iron ore-rich Middle Urals lodes, new settlements had been founding with regular consistency. And Chernoistochinsk was one of them. The township was founded on the important course from Nizhniy Tagil to the Chusovaya river, where timbers and barges filled with iron ore have been floating down the river to bigger cities. Later, a small railroad was laid throughout the whole way. If you are interested to read more about the dawn of the Ural metal industry that had provided iron in for Eiffel Tower construction, I’d recommend reading this book.
Generally speaking, the village has always been my small homeland. My aunt and grandmother were bringing me and my sister up when parents didn’t have enough time. Having grown up a little, I was also spending holidays there, and as a teenager, I explored the countryside fully around my home. Fishing, mushroom hunting, collecting pine-cones or just riding a bicycle. Once I even headed for gold panning using only shovel and sieve to the neighbouring village of Uralets. Lol, I was so sure that I’ll find something.
Chernoistochinsk truly deserves a special place in my memory. If only I could say the same about my heart, but I am still not sure about it. However, that is not the point. Let us leave these groaning and family psychology for another case.
“Whether we like it or not, we all come from someplace. And at some point in our lives, we have to make peace with that place.”
It should be noticed that our trip that day wasn’t planned. After my return from Ireland to the Urals, we came to Nizhniy Tagil on private business, and we visited Chernoistochinsk countless times within six months, but each trip has coincided with some occasion: birthday party, holidays or domestic problems, requiring my participation. The story I’ve chosen to narrate stands out of all visits: we went photo-shooting with our friends Alex and Kate. The reason sounded like “Let’s just make it, get a blow, drink some tea and make some cool shots on nature.” As you can see the typical weather for late autumn in Russian midland is grey skies with a sharp wind. Sometimes rain mixed with snow.
We dropped by for a quick “hello” to my father and went straight to the bank. “The bank” is not just title, it is a certain name of the place. When I was saying this word near somebody in Chernoistochinsk, everyone knew exactly what I was talking about. This place gathered people for summer sun from local houses. Year in and year out we went swimming there. But when summer season went over, the place got empty. In this day we were alone. Even though the fishing season was nearly over, local men on the boats were seen afar, still trying their luck. The little green island was for four of us. Several hours just flew by and we took dozens of great pictures.
This rest felt like both one-day camping and pleasure trip with friends, void of reasons. Being in a provincial town makes you yearning for a good company. As outgoing and open-hearted people, I and E. were lack of communication nearly always. Small town’s sad reality. It’s been a huge relief after I moved from Nizhniy Tagil. And that day was exactly the kind of. No hurry, no work problems. Perfect Autumn day.
After the bank, we got back to my father in his cosy house. When I was 10, my parents got divorced, and I was coming here with constant regularity, missing Dad. But, much water has flowed under the bridge since then. He got married, split up and got married again. His house grew larger. I think, for now, he is one of the happiest people I know. He is in love with his wife, he had left the job he hates and began doing things truly likes: farm life and livestock.
“We avoid risks in life only to die, and end up facing the greatest risk which is having lived life risking nothing at all.”
We pursuit stability nowadays so much, especially here, in Russia, where people got used to unexpectable crises and fear of losing everything. Such ambience creates obvious difficulties to make big changes. Even harder when you’re in over your 50s.
An exceptional day, wonderful live shots, a cosy childhood house. Brilliant.