* I wonder if I should apologize for once again bringing up the rather weighty topic of death – late autumn and early winter seems to be a pensive time, and the dark nights and misty mornings are ideal for darkly wandering thoughts. Also, this season, until the solstice, is traditionally known as veļu laiks – “the time of spirits”, where the souls of dead ancestors are, for a while, released back into the world, to tread through the fog on familiar paths, and be welcomed into the household. In olden times, extra place settings would be set out, and foods left by the door to feed the hungry ghosts. This is not to say that there are no celebrations – there is at least one more harvest festival coming up soon, and the dark season is also rife with mummers and random visits in costume to one’s nearest neighbours. But one must also be wary out on the roads, especially after nightfall, so be kind to your ancestors and remember them well (the ones who deserve it, at least). In any case, the point of this ramble is that I feel affected and the lack of sunlight is very conducive to not only depressing thoughts, but also existential themes. Not everyone has to follow me, though. I promise I won’t haunt you about it.
I once read somewhere, I forget where, that we die incomplete – always, always there is something that remains undone, at the end of the day. Nothing shows this more than the things we leave behind. Anyone who has ever sorted through someone else’s things knows that feeling of loss, sadness, rediscovery, wonder, boredom and inevitability – after all, one day, death will happen to all of us.
Recently, a certain historical property has come into the possession of a member of the family – it is what is locally known as a ‘castle’ but is in fact a large manor complex from the 17th century, consisting of the residential building (I won’t say house – it’s a mansion), the kalte (grain drying shed), stalls, a large creepy cellar (in addition to the large creepy basements!), and various other outbuildings. Much of it is in a state of tumbled disrepair, though the main residential building is in decent enough shape. Decent, at least, in that several people were living in it until last year. One of them was a former actor of popular standing in Soviet times, and it seems he lived well at the peak of his career – but the end of his life was spent on the borderline of poverty, out of the public eye, in the middle of nowhere at all.
Walking through his former residence was an interesting experience – the collection of things was quite impressive, some of it of historical interest, most of it not – just the random common detritus of everyday survival, no drama, no swelling orchestral chords, just a lot of dust, dead flies, and illegible notes.
These photos are all from the inside – where things were moodiest. Hopefully I will pull together a post about the buildings and surroundings themselves, the colours are brighter and the scenery is rather lovely. Today, though, we spend the trip inside – in no particular order.
The original Tame Impala version has a neat video.