From Ukraine with love
I’m proud of where I come from. I live in Kyiv in Ukraine. Like all major cities it sets out to impress you – and the first time you see it – well, I’m sure it succeeds. It’s been here since the 8th century – and its many histories sit alongside each other in full view.
Its ancient churches and monasteries, the elegant buildings from the time of the Imperial Romanovs, the brutality of communist concrete through to the present day modern.
But when I say proud — I don’t mean a fanatical kind of flag waving proud. I don’t mean feelings of superiority – that we’re better than anyone else. I would like our football team to win the world cup.
No it’s a quieter emotion – a secret smile.
We don’t get many tourists in Ukraine and I’m almost glad we don’t. Ukrainians are welcoming people but – how glorious is it that all this is just for us. It’s a secret only we know about. Enough words.
Pictures are better.
Drone flying. I take my eyes out of my head and throw them up in the air. And there they stay.
It’s not like flying a plane. If I stop moving forward there are no screams from the passengers in the back.
It’s not like a parachute jump. I can go back up again. Look left, look right, look up, look down.
If something goes wrong the only thing that gets hurt is my bank account. Bliss!
‘I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er Vales and Hills….’
A train slides into view. No point of departure. No known destination. A blue segmented worm moving enigmatically, inexorably. It passes another of the same breed but they exchange no greeting. Both engrossed in their separate and private journeys.
It has no fear of heights. It has no fear of water. It goes upon its emotionless way, indifferent to our watching eyes.
I like trains.
After the long dark night comes the dawn – but most of us are still unconscious in our beds, dreaming our dreams.
And when we do shuffle out, still half asleep to fulfil our daily obligations we are oblivious to our surroundings bathed in glorious early morning light.
So next time, look up and look around at the glorious new Ukrainian day.
Or in my case, look down!
Flying at Night
Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations. Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies like a snowflake falling on water. Below us, some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death, snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas, tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation. Darkness stirs and wakes imagination. Silently the senses abandon their defenses.
Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor. Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender. Turn your face away from the garish light of day. And listen to the music of the night.