Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Can you tell, what this is? 
I found him like that. Chickie's head got stuck in a Cheetos' bag. He tried to get it out, slid backwards from the couch, but then decided, he was OK, and just continued munching on one of his favorite snacks!

     Last night Taka and I had the most meaningful conversation in our 26 years of marriage! He came over to me (I was sleeping on the couch in the living room, since the pain in my leg makes me a very uncomfortable bed partner). It was already one in the morning, and I woke up when I heard his footsteps on the carpet. 
"Are you looking for a new church?" There, the question finally left his lips. I worried about the time, when we'd have to face the reality of me leaving the Unification Church. 
"Yes, I am." - I replied. 
He wanted to know, why I decided to change my faith after being a devotee of it for thirty two years. I told him honestly 
of  all the nagging questions and inconsistencies 
I encountered between the church's teachings and the lives of the members of the Moon family. I won't go into it here, and Taka wasn't too interested to hear about it either. 
He said, how a personality of an inventor or a scientist had little to do with the importance or significance of their discoveries. I responded: "Yes, but what they discover isn't based on the idea of them being the cornerstone of a discovery. In other words, they don't say, 
like Rev. Moon did that, 
they are the Messiah! 
So, if they or their family don't behave as the Messiah should, we don't start suspecting, if their discoveries are fake. Everything Rev. Moon said and our movement did was to convince the world in his and his clan's special standing. 
Taka was patient and calm. So was I. It was a very unusual way for us to communicate, since we always ended up yelling at each other for much less than this. Now he and I respectfully, quietly and openly revealed our thoughts to each other.
He said, what the Moon family does, doesn't bother him. He always said, he was not religious or spiritual, but in his life there were occasions, which convinced him of Rev. Moon being the Christ and of the validity of the Divine Principle (the church's teachings) as a fact of existence. He wants to focus on his role, as the head of the Toyodas and the Minskys (my side of the family). It's not a power trip. Taka is concerned about our common ancestors and  
the descendants, our children. 
You see, in the Unification Church there is a concept of "liberating" and "blessing" the ancestors from the clutches of their sin and hell by paying money for them, like the indulgences. Most of the members do that, and we too already gave a few thousand dollars. It sounds like a lot, but in Japan members are required to pay much more, perhaps, because that country is responsible for terrible atrocities against Korea, Rev. Moon's homeland, and him, personally. I know of Taka's commitment to his role, so I don't fight him about the money. 
And the children...
As the Messiah, Rev. and Mrs. Moon constituted the Blessing in marriage, which would also "liberate" members from the original sin and "engraft" them into the lineage of the True Parents (yes, Rev. and Mrs. Moon). Taka repeatedly talked about our responsibility to bless our children in marriage with other people from the church. 
I countered that, it was up to them to decide, whether they want to be married in the Unification Church or not. After a while, Taka asked me the question that bothered him most: will I go with him and the kids once a month to a Sunday Service at the UC and will I try to prevent children from marrying inside the church? I said, I will accompany my family and will support the kids in whatever they'll want to do.
I also told him, our first responsibility, in my opinion, as well as the Christianity's and even the same Unification Church's, is to accept Christ into our lives and follow Him. Everything else will be added to it. 
Taka swatted that idea away, although he didn't reject it, but I remembered Mr. P.'s words that, all of us 
have "tuning forks" in our souls, 
which resonate with the truth, when we hear it, even if we don't acknowledge it to others or ourselves. 
So, I have 
a bright and real hope now. 
Taka is a sensitive, conscientious person, and God will reach him in His time!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


     I felt uneasy. The cashier said that, something smelled bad, and when I asked her to repeat, she avoided answering my question. Toimages (290×174) make it even worse, I saw a woman, who stood behind me in line, make a disgusted face, and her male partner roll his eyes. summer-disgusted.gif (310×160)
     Did they suspect me of being the source of bad odor? I carefully sniffed around my groceries.  Yes, there was a nauseating smell, it emanated from a bag of onions, already awaiting by the turntable to be bagged! 
     Why am I writing this? How can it be important, that my onions smelled? 
     I am a large woman. To be exact, I am a short woman, but of the generous proportions. A year ago I would've just buried my suspicion that, people, in their derision of the fat humans, thought, the smell came from me. I would've buried it and it would've been another source of pain, eating at my self-confidence. 
- "You are projecting." - I imagine, would be Mr. P.'s firm verdict. 
Mr. P.

- "But!" - my self doubts make me sick, but I am unable to deny what, I think, is the truth.
- "You don't know for sure, whether people thought that you smelled. We must live in the present and avoid imagining, what might have been. Only that, of which we are sure, really matters".
     And it's true: I have no proof of the others' judgment of me. The cashier readily accepted "the onions" solution to the odor mystery and took them off my bill. The couple behind me could've been reacting to something else, like having to wait too long, while I dawdled at the register. 
     Oh, no, I dawdled for too long and made people annoyed! 
     Just kidding! 
     I absorbed a little bit of recovery through my sessions with Mr. P. and from a few Al Anon meetings. I don't let myself feel, like I'm dying of embarrassment, every time I suspect someone of judging me for my weight or accent. Some, probably, do, but their recovery is still ahead of them, so I have a tactical advantage over them! 

     "Maturity is moving from a thin skin and a hard heart to a thick skin and a soft heart" Donna Amis Davis.


Friday, March 27, 2015


Visited my counsel, Mr. P. today. Roberta didn't want to stay alone at home, so I brought her to Starbucks near Mr. P.'s house, bought her a cup of coffee and went to my session.
Remember Mr. P.'s cat? 

Recently this Precious lady went away. She suddenly wasn't feeling well, and, before anything could be done, she was gone. Poor Mr. P. deeply felt the loss, and how can one comfort someone at a time like that?
Today we talked about things that puzzle me. As I mentioned, I wonder, whether the responsibility for taking charge of myself is on me or, since I am asking the Higher Power, the God of my understanding, to take control of my life, He bares the burden. Mr. P. summarized the answer for me. Three precepts of Al Anon are (in a nutshell): "I can't, He can, I'll let Him". That doesn't mean, I fold my pretty little hands and wait for God to work for me. It entails a thorough cleansing of my heart and mind, sincere and utmost attempt to reach Heavenly Parent in my personal prayers and deeds. Not so different from  the beliefs I used to espouse, but totally opposite from the Unification Church's manipulative teachings, designed to make one feel responsible for saving the world, but forget about taking care of one's own soul! 


     I had a good couple of days. After a few months of enduring one problem after another with my knee and feet, I suddenly felt no pain and could move around without a cane, although, it was mighty good to have it, when I needed its support.
     Last night, as I went to sleep, Chickie decided to bestow on me the favor of lying on my legs. It was not a big deal, really, so I let him curl up on his beloved blanket on top of me. When I tried to get up, I felt the familiar stiffness of the knee joint. Just like that, the pain returned! 
     Anyway, two days without pain are better than nothing, right? There are people in this world, who exist in constant pain, and one of them is Roberta. I don't know, how she is doing it: most of the time, she is cheerful and doesn't complain.
     Did I tell you, we went to the Creekside Community Church in San Leandro last Sunday? We went there before, and I didn't like it. I was looking for a friendly church, where I could feel welcome. People at the Creekside were nice enough, but I didn't feel, like I was wanted. Since then my priorities shifted. I began to understand, and I am paraphrasing it: it's not what a church can give you, it's what you can give to a church.... Besides, the reasons to go there should be wider, than just for finding some buddies...
     This time, when I arrived to the Creekside Church with Roberta and Sonny in tow, I felt very differently. During my last visit there, they sang unfamiliar songs, adding to my feeling of alienation. Now the congregation sang "Be thou my vision" - a hymn by an Irish saint, Dallan Forgaill. I'm, somewhat, familiar with it, and the words of gratitude and devotion to God couldn't fail to move me. The pastor, who already spoke at an earlier service, was a little hoarse, but he talked of the chapter in Acts, where the early Christians discuss, whether the Gentiles should have to follow Jewish law in order to be considered as true believers in Christ. This question of inclusion or exclusion of people, according to the ruling clique's views, is very close to my heart. It was fascinating to hear the pastor explain the historical background of that part of the Gospel and describe, how some of the prominent figures of Christianity, like Paul, Peter, James and Barnabas, felt about the topic. 
     The result of the discussion, which drew the participation of every member of the early church, was that, beyond urging the Gentiles to avoid the sin, they should not be compelled to accept Judaism in order to be true Christians: 
      For the first time in a very long while the words of a pastor got through to me to move my heart even to a point of tears. 


Cats, cats, we're surrounded by cats!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


     What am I doing? I am not writing, neither this blog nor my story. I spend time on Facebook or playing Scrabble online. Obviously, that's not the best way to spend my life, but I can't seem to get off the couch and into the wide world.
     Oh, I do all the things I have to do for work. I go to doctors and even meet friends or Mr. P. sometimes. At the same time, the weight keeps creeping back up, after everything I've endured, trying to shed the pounds.
     I think, the only way I can lose weight is if someone hits me on the head and lays me down in some quiet, warm place without food for a few months. Or, maybe, go to some rehab for the overweight sufferers and use the structured environment in order to keep my discipline and determination intact. 
     I am so confused! My mind is full of contradictions. On the one hand. I came to understand that, I am powerless against my addiction to food, and only with the interference from the Higher Power I can overcome it. On the other hand, does it mean, I am responsible for the weight loss? 
     Perhaps, it means, I am responsible to make the Higher Power able to work in my life. What does it entail? Prayer, achieving the right kind of an attitude, I guess. And here again I am at sea: what is the correct attitude? 
     How do some people just have it in their hearts, what it takes to be really successful in life?! They are in touch with something, which I am only guessing at. I need help!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I have see the future, and its in my mouth!
2Q== (300×168)Remember, how the dentists used the sticky material to make a mold for a dental crown or  prostheses? They then sent it to a lab, and after waiting for it for a couple of weeks, we had to go to the office a few more times for adjustments. I came in for such a purpose. Dr. Chan's second son (that's how he introduced himself to me) worked on me for at least an hour, using all the latest methods to minimize my discomfort. There was no pain! Then he said:
"I will now take a few pictures with this computer device and we'll images (328×153)               make your crown."
I was astonished: "How are you able to do it right here in the office?" He very calmly explained that, the computer will send the parameters of my crown to a machine, which then will make it.
"You mean... you use a 3-D printer?!!!"

They do! Amazing: in a small town of San Lorenzo, in the area of lower to middle class people, Dr. Chan is able to use such a revolutionary device! 
images (275×183)I hobbled (the knee is still acting up) to a small machine in the corner of the office. Its made so we can watch the process. A cube of pink material was fastened between two little drills. As the machine received instructions from the computer, the drills began to furiously work on a cube, being liberally sprayed with water. I was so excited, I could scarcely stand still and kept squawking and hop around, like a demented chicken. The staff thoroughly enjoyed this display for a while, then politely asked me to return to the room. 
And that was it! 
A little crown you see on a photo above was adjusted to my needs, then painted my color and baked for twenty minutes, or so, to make it hard and shiny. By the way, its made of the strongest stuff there is: porcelain!
This was the most amazing thing that happened in our parts this week. Other than that, we work and we play, as usual. The cats do their job: they sleep on every available surface in the house. For some reason, they prefer this multi-plug thingy to nap on. 

Does anyone have any idea, why this is so?
For Roberta's birthday we went to the IHOP on the 9th of March, because it was weekend. Yesterday, on the real date of her birth, I sent Sonny to buy her a cake and a card. We had a good time, celebrating!
Doesn't she look nice?

She began to breathe easier. Numb, she rocked back and forth on her narrow cot, empty of all thought and feeling, except for the greatest of sadnesses. They were all gone! She couldn't save them!
     Days and nights passed. She didn't eat, but a small well behind the house often saw her reflection in it's waters. Her, once full and tidy, blond hair stood in a wild tangle around her head and the eyes went deeper and deeper into her skull.
     Finally, the hunger pangs became unbearable. She ventured outside, into an empty street. The marauders killed or took everyone in the Jewish village, driving the cattle with them. They killed all the dogs too, so only the craws greeted a lonely woman.
     She couldn't stay there! The stench of the dead was in her nostrils. Yadviga rashed back to the house, tied a few possessions in a large kerchief and set off to a small hutor - a stead - which used to belong to her mother.
     It was better in the forest. She calmed down, but the cold inside of her seemed to radiate out, and soon she was freezing. She looked around for something to eat and found a tiny clearing, with many wild strawberries, red in the grass. For a few minutes she just sat there, stuffing her mouth with tangy sweetness. Suddenly the guilt overwhelmed her: what right did she have to be alive, to feel and taste, when they were no longer living?
     The juice of the berries squeezed through her fists. The earth met and comforted her, but her grief would not be consoled. She felt, it was going to rend her in two! The forest has gone quiet. Heavy, acrid smell assailed her nostrils and she looked about her.
     A circle of grass around her was singed, as if by fire, and a cloud of fine dust first hung in the air and then fell to the ground. She smudged her finger in it and tasted: it was bitter salt.
     Yadviga ran in panic the rest of the way. This happened a few times before in her life, when the emotions she felt were too strong for her to control, but she never expected her "powers" to show up so violently. And the salt?! Is that what happened during the attack?
     The stead rose among a dark grove in the middle of the woods. Her mother inherited it from her family and took Yadviga there sometimes, just to make sure, the buildings still stood, and the forest didn't overgrow them. Yadviga spent a few days looking after things. She kept a small stove lit all the time, because the cold wouldn't leave her bones. Behind the stead was a small lake, fed by a stream, so there was always plenty of fresh water, fish, and vegetation she could gather for food, but that was the last thing on her mind. In the days before she came to the stead, she pushed the children's faces out of her mind, afraid, she'd go crazy from despair, but now she lay awake at night, recalling every touch, every freckle or a smile on their lost, beloved faces.
      On the fourth evening the weather took turn for the worse. Trees around the house creaked and bent in the wind, snagging their branches in each other's crowns. Clouds hid the moon and the stars, and the darkness kept pushing through the little windows into Yadviga's soul.
     She stoked the fire in a stove before laying down to sleep. Instead, she soon heard a huge commotion outside. Something was crashing through the underwood. She heard desperate mooing and then - growling and the sounds of a straggle. The young woman tried to see from her porch, what was going on, but it was hopeless: the night was impenetrable. She made a torch, lit it and went out.
     Yadviga was afraid. Red points of the wolves' eyes milled about in the trees. The wind tore the threats she shouted at them. Then she felt the familiar tension in her whole being, before a small explosion shook the air. The wolves disappeared, but something was still there. Yadviga tried to move closer. She tripped over a big, warm body, then sprawled on top of it, smelling and feeling the cooling blood. The torch showed her a calf, laying dead on the ground, it's stomach ripped open. The calf's mother was standing nearby, mooing, shaking her head and loudly blowing air out of her nose. When Yadviga reached her, the animal lowered her horns in warning, but, in some time and with a lot of the cajoling, Yadviga managed to lead her to the barn.
     She let the cow eat some old hay. The animal was well taken care of. Yadviga thought, she recognized it from one of her neighbors' pair. The cow laid down then, exhausted, and the woman sat by her, singing softly and touching, checking it for wounds. The cow slowly calmed down, although, time to time, she lowed mournfully. As Yadviga's inner feelings, the love and compassion she had for the bovine, overtook her; she felt the familiar tensing in her core again, but now, instead of a violent outcome, the warmth flooded her whole self. She laid by her new companion, hugging it with one arm. The cow turned and nuzzled her with fuzzy, wet nose. "Poor thing, you lost your young one too!" - Yadviga whispered. In a while both of them were asleep.
     The huge Russian stunk of hooch and onions. His callous fingers groped and pinched her breasts. She kicked, scratched and bit, but he smacked her over the face so hard, she went limp. The door flung open. Her youngest, Yasha, ran into the room, dodged the intruders and went for the man, who was pushing his mother against the wall. Yasha waved around a small knife. He managed to nick the Russian, before the man struck him on the head. The boy fell.
     Yadviga woke up from the nightmare on the floor in the stead. Her bed simply disintegrated, and she lay amid the timbers, straw and clothes that she used as a blanket.  The tears still ran from her eyes, just as bitter, as a circle of fine salt powder surrounding her!
     The rest of the night Yadviga slept in the barn with the cow. In the late morning she took her to the lake. The animal enjoyed sweet grass growing there, and Yadviga went to the water. As she took off her garments, she noticed for the first time, how bony she became.
     It was already the beginning of autumn. Cold water sliced through her like a knife, but the woman waded further in. She bent over to splash her face and was startled to see an old hag looking back at her from the lake! She brought some of her hair in front of her eyes: it was pure white! Yadviga sat right there, into the silt of the lake's bottom. Half a month ago she looked healthy and young for her age. Was it the loss that turned her into an old crone? Or did the use of the powers demand too much from a mind and a body?
     If she was to survive her gift, she has to learn, how to use it! There must be something else she could do with it, except blowing things up!
     It was more difficult than she thought. A simple exercise, trying to make a cup move toward her, left her gasping for breath and the floor of the little room - covered in broken crockery. Still, there was a lot of time to practice. She probed at the edges of her ability; was cautious, yet didn't shy away from the exhaustion that accompanied her best attempts. The salt appeared only when she used her powers in fear or pain, so Yadviga decided, she first had to learn to control her emotions.
     She soon had a chance to test her resolve. The wolves came out of nowhere. She was in the barn, cleaning after Blubell, the cow, when a gray animal appeared in the doorway. Terrified, she menaced it with the hayfork, then pushed the barn doors shut, all the while remembering the arrogant, calculating look on the wolf's face. Soft footfalls around the shelter told her, there were more than one of them and they did not give up. 
     Yadviga stilled her heart. She opened the doors again. Blubell thought, it was a terrible idea. She huddled by the wall, shaking her head and mooing. As Yadviga saw her first enemy in the bright light of the doorway, she got a hold of some unnamed thing inside and in her mind saw, what she wanted to do with it. A big gob of manure hit the wolf smack in the nose! The animal yipped, jumped back, then forgot all about the attack and desperately scratched at his muzzle. The pack rushed in, but Yadviga kept on a steady barrage of the squishy, stinky missiles. They tried to encircle the young woman and the cow, but she raised the whole twister of hay and cow droppings around herself and Blubell. The wolves soon gave up. They suddenly turned tail and ran.
     All, except one. It somehow got inside the whirlwind. Yadviga was already too tired to use her powers. She grabbed the fork again and blindly struck at the wolf. Silently, it collapsed
     It was over. Yadviga poked the fallen predator with the butt of the fork. It didn't move. Sharp prong hit it in the head, and it lay bleeding on the dirty floor. Using the same fork butt, Yadviga pushed the body to the wall and, sighing, started to clean up. 
     The wolf wasn't dead. Yadviga carefully put her hand on the animal's side. The fur was rough, but surprisingly deep and pleasant to a touch. The ribs lifted with regular breaths, the bleeding stopped. Yadviga thought, she should just slit its throat, but she noticed the tits on the wolf's belly. It was a female, and somewhere there were cubs, waiting for their mother's return.    
     She took the wolf to the house. Blubell would have stomped her to death, if she left her in the barn. The she-beast slept for two days, then, checking on her on the third morning, Yadviga was startled to hear a faint growl. The wolf's upper lip trembled, then lifted to show terrible teeth. After that, she opened her one good eye and glared at her captor. Yadviga jumped back in a hurry. The animal tried to get up, but fell back to the floor: the blow to the head and two days without food or water left her helpless. The eye was red and swollen, like raw meat. The woman filled a small earthen bowl with water and pushed it to the wolf. The beast began to drink cautiously only after she was left alone. 
     In all her time in the stead Yadviga didn't set traps or fished in the lake. Fortunately, she managed to save and smoke some of the slaughtered calf's meat and stored it in a tiny shed that stood on thin stilts by the barn. People used such structures to keep the food away from the animals. The wolf didn't take meat from her at first, but, eventually, the hunger got the best of her. 
     As soon as she was strong enough to walk, the wolf ran away. Yadviga never saw her again, but she felt eyes watching her in the forest, and thought, it was "her" beast. 
     The winter was coming. She didn't have enough time to prepare. Blubell needed hay and seed for the months, when everything would get frozen. Yadviga had no choice, but to go back to the village. 
     Fortunately, the wild animals took care of the bodies, left on the streets by the marauders. The woman went from house to house, gathering everything she might need; she dug up vegetables from her neighbors' gardens, caught a few hens, who managed to hide from the wolves and the foxes, and lugged huge parcels of hay back to the stead with a help of a wheelbarrow she found in the street. She then cut and brought back with her as much wheat from the fields, as she could. She had to make many such grueling trips. It was good to numb herself with hard work though and feel cool breeze on her face instead of the close air of her hut.
     In preparation for the winter Yadviga thrashed the wheat and stored grain and hay in the barn. She'll have to think later of the ways to keep the mice from getting into it. In the weeks before, she found a small cellar under the house to store Blubell's milk. The hens felt happier in a warm barn near Blubell, and right away got to the business of laying eggs.     
     Her snares caught some birds and rabbits. She plucked and skinned them, taking care to gather all the usable feathers and not to damage the furs. The meat she smoked or cooked right away, to be kept for later. The furs needed to be scraped. She then treated them with some manure, to keep them supple. It took many weeks for the smell to become at least bearable! 
     She thought, they could survive now. 
     The first snowfall lasted all night. She couldn't open the door in the morning to go milk Blubell. Fed up, she used her powers to just shove the snow out of the way, making a clear path from the house to the barn. 
     Yadviga spent her days weaving straw mats, which she hung on the walls, to insulate the hut and barn from cold. She made some other preparations for the winter and took care of herself, the cow and the rest of her household. At night she was so tired , that the nightmares rarely bothered her anymore, but all through the day her children's faces swam in front of her mind's eye. 
     In the last days before the frost, Yadviga gathered some more herbs, which, as her mother taught her, were good for what ails a person or a beast. Now she cooked or ground them, thinking back on their usage.
****the warm breeze on her face, Yadviga lay by the lake, chewing on a sour end of the buttercup. She heard a splash and turned to her side to look at the lake. A long ripple ran through the water close to the shore, as if an impossibly large body passed beneath it. Then a snout with a hooked up lower jaw appeared; the fish-lips grasped for air and the gnats, that swarmed over the water. Cold, ancient eyes scanned the shore and stopped on Yadviga. She scrambled away from the water, unmindful of the mud. The pike was at least eight feet long, the scales and sharp fins grown thick with molluscs and the crud from the lake's bottom. 
     Yadviga couldn't take her eyes from the fish. It regarded her with faint curiosity, then the head disappeared under water. Yadviga saw, though, that the monster was moving towards her. She tried to run, but something made her turn back and look: the pike now lay on its side on the bottom of the lake's shallow, moving its fins and smacking lips in a hypnotic pattern. 
The words appeared in the woman's mind, although she didn't hear the sound. 
- "What are you, human? You are not like the others." 
     The unblinking stare held her in its power. She could not move or speak. Her own lips opened and shut without a sound. 
- "Never mind, I'm bored already. How disappointing."
     The great pike swished tail and... couldn't go anywhere! The silt sucked it in, and it thrashed convulsively, but only got more and more mired.
     Yadviga watched the animal's attempts to free itself and felt it's fear and anger to be so humiliated in front of an inferior creature. She then reached inside of herself, found the center of her power and pushed at it, extending herself to the monster. 
     It slipped through the silt into the deep water and disappeared without a splash. Yadviga stood by the lakeside for a while, marvelling at what just happened. 
*****How long does winter last? It seemed to Yadviga, the world was always covered in snow!  Most of the time she stayed in a barn, tending to her animals. Spending time with the creatures, who didn't demand anything from her, except food and company, removed the bitter taste from her thoughts. She milked the cow, cleaned after it, fed chickens and collected their eggs. 
     The problem with mice getting into the grain storage was resolved, when an extremely pregnant cat turned up by the barn's door. Yadviga gave it some milk, but warned it: if she wanted to stay, she must catch most of her food. The cat, scrawny and black as night, seemed to understand, what was required of her. She hunted until the babies came. The kittens grew up over the winter months and stayed in the warm barn, learning to hunt.
     Yadviga enjoyed watching them play. One morning, though, she found her favorite kitten lying still and blooded on the barn's floor. It seemed, the small animal got trampled by Blubel. Yadviga took it to her hut.The kitten's back leg was broken, and, despite the woman's attempts to keep it immobilized, the limb never grew straight, as it should. That didn't seem to slow down Blaze. He was just as nimble as his siblings. 
     They weathered the winter the best they could. By the time the snow started to melt, Yadviga's stores began to ran out. She was happy to get out into the forest to set more traps and gather wilted, wet grass from the lake's shore for Blubell's feed. Some chickens succumbed to cold and hunger, but others survived. Encouraged by the warmth of the sun, they began to lay eggs again.
     ***** The forest opened its depths to her. It was cold there, despite the summer, and Yadviga wore her coat. In the winter she has sewn furs and bird feathers to it to make it warmer. Now she looked and felt like one of the wood's creatures: gray, black and brown, except for the tangle of her white hair. 
     She knew, what she wanted: the raspberry bushes grew thick among the trees to the north of the stead. She starved for the freshness of the tangy, sweet fruit and spent a good half an hour indulging herself. 
     As she ate, Yadviga murmured the names of her children, half forgotten prayers for them and the lullabies she used to sing to lay them to bed. She was quite lost in the dream world, when the snap of a branch behind her brought her back. She whirled around, hands outstretched to meet any threat, and then the basket fell from her fingers.
     Children: a boy and a girl! 
-   "Anya, Yasha!" - she mumbled, still lost in dreams of her own children. She was so hoarse! The months she spent alone robbed her of real voice.
     The girl was older. 
-   "Who are you?" - she challenged Yadviga, hugging her brother to her side. The boy sucked his thumb and gazed at the woman from bottomless, gray eyes. 
     She tried to squeeze out her name. 
-   "Yaga?!" - the girl pointed at the coat. Too late the hermit remembered that, that's what the folk in those parts called feathers. 
     The girl pulled her brother away and ran, forgetting their baskets on the ground.
     Returning the baskets to the house, now occupied by the children's family, was just the beginning. Yadviga spent many hours watching the kids play at the forest's edge. She would not show herself, remembering the girl's reaction to her appearance. 
     The family was, most likely, some refugees from the war in Poland. Both, children and parents, bore the Nordic or Slavic' look: they were tall and fair. They chose one of the abandoned huts, and parents worked day and night to clear the field and a small garden from the winter's debris, as well as glean some vegetables from the other village plots. 
     Yadviga sat, watching children. Their bright voices and innocent faces were like water to a person, dying of thirst! She'd sit quietly behind the bushes, afraid to scare them. 
     One day she was at her place in a thicket, avidly following the small figures and games with her eyes and only allowing herself a little cackle time to time, when the boy and girl's antics were too funny. She became aware that, the forest has gone too silent around her. Alert, she scanned the bushes at the edge of a clearing. A dark shape hid inside one of them. A wolf was too skinny and old, but he would be strong enough to hurt or even kill a child. 
     In horror, Yadviga saw the animal cautiously walk into the clearing. She rushed out then too, hoping that, just by doing it she'll scare the wolf away. It worked: he melted back into the woods, but the kids, who didn't see the beast, were startled by Yadviga's sudden appearance. They screamed the bloody murder.