Sunday, December 2, 2007

December 2 – Day 76

The warm winter sun poured through the charter bus windows, bouncing off the clouds and snow, creating a radiant glow that caused my eyes to tear. We have not had a break in weeks and as much as I longed for a leisurely Sunday morning spent lounging in bed, I was thrilled at the idea of getting out of the city for a day to visit the Russian countryside. MXAT arranged for our group to visit Chekhov’s Estate in a province several hours outside of Moscow. We knew it would be cold and that the bitter temperature inside the city was bound to drop even further as we approached the barren birch-lined fields but I had no idea what a welcome relief the chill would be after days spent in the polluted grey of the metropolis winter. I could barely hear the mummers of complaining students as I raced through the snow banks feeling the spray of untouched white covering my face. The quiet was ominous yet it felt difficult to believe that it was possible to feel anything other than blissful release in the sparkling tundra. As we approached the tiny chapel and cemetery that served as a spiritual resting place for generations of Chekovians, I got the feeling I was seeing something I had only before conceived in my mind. It all looked so familiar. I could see him, walking through the fields conjuring Treplev and Nina, writing about love and art in a way that had never before been expressed. I stayed quiet and let the cold wash over me until it began to hurt. It was enough. It made the trip feel complete and as I thawed out napping in the bus to the tune of Christmas carols in the glimmer of the setting sun I felt settled and ready to go home.