Friday, September 23, 2011

Collage 535

One cold winter day in the early 1990, a friend of mine – a successful and productive artist and photographer - got a good fire going in the woodstove that provided all the heat in his rented 200-year old log cabin. Then he buttoned up the stove and took his pickup into town 10 miles away to run errands and go shopping. His house was a few hundred yards from the Potomac River at the end of a difficult to follow dirt road far from any neighbors. While he was away, the accumulated soot and tar in the chimney ignited, causing a roaring chimney fire. Sparks shot out the top of the chimney, settled on the wood shingle roof and set the house on fire. He lost literally everything. Later he said, yes, it hurt and he regretted losing a lot of that stuff, but it was also liberating and reminded him of what’s important.

I am reminded of my friend by Natasha’s efforts to pack the family’s belongings – and her decision in the end to abandon those belongings and use the carts and wagons to help with the transport of wounded Russian soldiers trying to get out of Moscow ahead of Napoleon’s army. -- Otto

Otto Mayr
from page 325-326, volume 2 of original text
collage, ink
made 6/30/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 864-866

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