July 01, 2008

Village Notes

I had just finished washing the dinner dishes one night when I realized I had left the barn door open – where the goats are kept. There were wolves lurking around; I had seen their tracks earlier in the day out on the muddy road to the hay fields. I pulled the bucket of potato peelings out from under the sink, to take to the two goats as an evening treat. 

It was dark outside and the sky was clear. I looked up and saw a half moon gleaming in the sky, surrounded by a halo with an orange glow. A bad sign, the villagers say. Could mean trouble. I dumped the tailings into the goats’ trough and closed the door, putting the dowel through the latch. I had just returned to the yard and latched the gate behind me, when I heard our neighbor Kalkanikha yell out at me from across the way.

“Petrovich! Petrovich!” she cried, thinking I was my husband Igor, and calling him by his patronymic. The sound in her voice was desperate. She screamed as though she had been rezanny – cut with a knife, as the Russian expression goes. 

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