Nowadays there are many options and opportunities for traveling around the world. Through the internet, you can make a route and book tickets, hotel, and transport for travelling around a new place. Whatever exotic and interesting places we visit, we are all the same drawn to where we grew up, where the carefree days of our childhood and youth were spent. I was born in the large metropolitan city of Kiev, but for the most part I spent all my early childhood and holidays in a village with my grandmother. The small, picturesque village of Salyha two hours away by car from Kiev is the place where I spent a lot of time and where I always want to return.Order now
Personal transport in my childhood was a great luxury, so we traveled there mainly by public transport and the most affordable option was the train. Sometimes it took a whole day of travelling. In winter, it was possible to observe at the stations group of people jumping, or simply shifting from one foot to the other, trying to warm up in the bitter cold. In the train it was possible to observe amazing frost patterns on the windows, enveloping the glass so thickly that it was almost impossible to see what was happening on the street.
In the summer, there were so many people in these trains that I could hear the heartbeat of nearby passengers. Passengers packed into the car like herrings in a barrel. Nobody wanted to miss the train, because the next onewould not be until the next day. Despite all the difficulties of such a trip, having reached Salyha we didn’t remember all these adventures.Overcoming the difficult journey ended with our gaze opening onto the fabulous landscape of a small village. The hilly terrain, surrounded by dense forests, reminded me of a fairytale town. There were no factories, power plants or any other large enterprises here. Only in the center of the village was a village shop, school and club where young people came to the disco in the evenings.
In the spring, the aroma of blooming lilac or acacia can be found, which made me want to breathe evenly and deeply. Flowering cherries, like happy brides, nodded under the light breath of a cool breeze. Approaching the well-groomed house of my grandmother, the gate creaked cheerfully on the slightly buckled fence. In the courtyard geese and chickens fled, knocking each other down as if they saw some kind of ghost, and from the house came the aroma of freshly baked bread in grandmother’s oven, which welcomed me and made me feel at home.
A special place for me was a Birch grove surrounded by wildflowers, growing on top of one of the many hills on the outskirts of the village. Dancing rows of trees with marble-white trunks and small trembling in the wind leaves on thin twigs gave shade and coolness on a hot summer day. Lying on the thick grass in this grove, inhaling the scent of wildflowers, I could spend hours watching the village life of the locals.
Another place I remember watching people was from the church bell tower; seeing someone in the village below mowing the grass, swinging theirscythe from side to side with amazing precision, as it glinted in the sun, creating orderly rows of cut grass in its wake.
Elsewhere in the village, an army of children ran to the side of the river, waving small sticks like a battalion of horsemen with formidable swords, trying to cut down a bush of nettles or some other weed in their way. Having reached their goal, they dropped their weaponsas they ran, and without stopping leapt into the radiant water, creating fountains around them like New Year’s fireworks as they dived in.
In my childhood there werecommunal farms with cows, horses and piglets, but now there are only sad, dilapidated buildings, like an abandoned barracks after the war, which have long been covered with cobwebs and overgrown with wild grass. Despite all the beauty and vibrancy of the local nature, young families are trying to go to the big city where there are more opportunities for work. Many of those who have remained are now alcoholics. Homes that families have moved awayfrom or in which there are no people left to live thereare often exposed to trespassers who are looking for something to steal that can be sold or exchanged for another batch of alcohol.
Being in Salyha as an adult gives me mixed feelings; of the joy that the flourishing natural environment and nostalgic memories gives me, but also bitterness from the fact that both my Grandmothers are gone, there is no smell of baked bread to welcome me home, and the house is not as loved or lived in as before. I realize that this place and that time is a something I always want to return to, but by its nature never can.