Up to the days of Indiana’s early statehood, probably as late as 1825, there stood, in what is now the beautiful little city of Vincennes on the Wabash, the decaying remnant of an old and curiously gnarled cherry tree, known as the Rousillon tree, le cerisier de Monsieur Roussillon, as the French inhabitants called it, which as long as it lived bore fruit remarkable for richness of flavor and peculiar dark ruby depth of color. The exact spot where this noble old seedling from la belle France flourished, declined, and died cannot be certainly pointed out; for in the rapid and happy growth of Vincennes many land-marks once notable, among them le cerisier de Monsieur Roussillon, have been destroyed and the spots where they stood, once familiar to every eye in old Vincennes, are now lost in the pleasant confusion of the new town. - Maurice Thompson, Alice of Old Vincennes
|Welcome to Northport|
Another fascinating book I’m reading right now is The Storks’ Nest [Life and Love in the Russian Countryside], by Laura Lynne Williams. Working with the World Wildlife Fund, the author moved to Moscow in 1993, where she met Igor Shpilenok and moved to work with him — eventually to live with and ultimately marry him and raise a family — in the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve. Williams describes their remote village, its population having declined from over 300 to a mere nineteen inhabitants:
…The villagers here have never had it easy. There were so many strikes against them: floods, famine, purges, collectivization, war, resettlement, and the absence of a road. Now the only people left in Chukrai are those who weren’t smart or lucky enough to leave. And then there are Igor and me, two naturalists who find solace in the village’s remoteness, in its total immersion in the wilderness of the Bryansk Forest, and in each other.
When the grasses grow long and the sun shines, the villagers make hay. All day they swing their scythes, making nearly full arcs around their bodies. The grass falls in neat rows, and soon the open fields around the village are laid flat. The villagers stop only to sip kvas and eat salo and bread. The women wear white scarves tied tightly around their heads to divert the heat. One cow needs approximately three tons of hay to last the winter. One fit person could make this much hay in approximately twelve days. Hay is usually cut twice: first in July and again in August. About three days after the hay is down, if there is no rain, the villagers help each other stack the dry grasses and compress them into dense piles. The men toss the hay up on the stacks with their pitchforks, and the women trample it with their feet.
|Beautiful boat harbor|
|New recycling station will be here|
|No more trains|