Friday, January 3, 2014
For a little while I tried and almost forgot about the role that my children might play in the fortunes of mankind. It's autumn, after-all, busy time of harvesting in our small gardens and gathering foods and herbs in the forest that we will need in coming winter. Hunters go out every day and stay out long. They bring killed prey, and we spend most of our days butchering it and curing meat and pelts. It's hard work, but it keeps me from the unwelcome thoughts about my family's future.
At night we hear taiga. There is no real silence here. A noise of a startled bird or a deer, the wind in the ancient trees - they surround our little community, they are the background of the normal current of life. Time to time, we hear wolves. Then Midori answers them with howls full of desire to belong, but, more often than not, she limps into our yard injured after meeting members of her species. Terrible wounds heal remarkably fast, though. In a day or so she begins to feel too closed in inside the house, and we open door for her to go back into the forest. The village dogs can't stand a sight of her, but one look at the raised crest of stiff red and blue hair on her spine (she grew it over the last winter) sends them yipping and hiding under the bushes.
Tonight is too hot and muggy. The moment that I open the window, the pandemonium breaks out. Midori howls in the distance, but these are not her usual calls. She sounds urgent, almost barks at times! The dogs in our village and the Evenks' too take up the howling. Lights go on in the houses and yurts, people yell to each other.
In the morning, a party is sent to explore the reasons for last night's disturbance. They find an abandoned camp not a mile away from where we live. Straight lines in which the tents were pitched and the fires lit up, as well as the acrid smell of the ammo, tell them that there are soldiers wandering our woods.
Midori keeps howling. We can hear that she is moving around the perimeter of some unknown area, keeping the village as a center. Then she falls silent.
Men in khaki uniforms walk into the village. They carry guns, tents and supplies. The Evenks meet them, but they are forced to stand down under the barrels of the guns pointed at them.
I go ahead of a small group of men with my hands raised in a gesture of peace and calm. The leader of the military comes towards me. He is a tall black man in his forties who introduces himself as Captain Sawanni. I ask about the reason for their presence in taiga. He just shrugs and says, the less I know, the safer my people will be.
I don't argue with him, but invite him to my home. Amur and Dular are hanging behind the welcoming committee, their eyes as round as saucers.
To Be Continued...