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Burnt Lavender
Vlad Valerian Iakubovskii

Traveling in this land on the edge of the western world, I’ve seen things.

Things like pigs in the sea. Pink farm pigs. Clean. Just standing there. Not moving. As though paralyzed by the waves. 

I was watching them for quite some time. Eventually, they started dropping dead. Probably from exhaustion. I ran to help them. I pushed them, slapped them, and punched them, but to no avail. I don’t know what happened to them the next day. I had to move on. That’s all I do here. I move on.

There was also this dog who travelled through the Caucasus Mountain pass with me. After walking the rocky trail for a few hours, I saw it there, greeting me. Wiggling emptiness instead of a tail. 

On our way, it would often stop and stare into the silence of the mountain range. Sometimes for hours. I imagined it was thinking about its owner, who at some point perished in these mountains. He was probably that only «unknown alpinist» in the photograph in the museum, among other alpinists with names. I wanted to get it some food. But before we could reach the town, it left me and joined other travellers going uphill. 

It went back to its mountains

Then, at the end of the summer, I stumbled upon a huge pile of mud in the Black Sea, right by the rocky coast. It was mixed with all sorts of debris. Trees and branches. Garbage here and there. Pieces of someone’s house. And a black jacket with copper buttons. I caught myself thinking, I'd like it to be scarlet red. Or light blue. But it was black. No matter how strong a force the sea would throw at it, no matter the size of the wave, it would still hold on to the rock. 

"Is it the consequences of the Kakhovka Dam explosion?" I thought.

It wasn't, it couldn't be. But it looked as though it was the manifestation of what people are going through. Wars. New wars only just starting. The old ones going to last forever. Upcoming wars, the scale of which the world was hoping to never see again. All of it there. In the boiling mud. Ugly. And mesmerising. 

"I don't want to end up down there," was my last thought before I moved on again. After all, I could be the one who'd lost the jacket.

The landscape I’m traveling through is transient. No person or thing is with me for long. In my emigration, everything changes so fast, reality loses its integrity and crumbles. Dreams and memories in this state are more real than anything else. These photos are my attempt to piece my reality back together. One that I’m in right now with the one that I had to leave behind after fleeing my homeland. It is back there, on the coast of the White Sea. Land that I have no way of coming back to. Because of the wars they wage and borders they create. I am afraid that my reality will die out there without me. Sink in the sea of garbage they bring from Moscow. It probably already has.

The past despises us. The future is non-existent. The only thing that’s left for me are frozen moments. And I collect them.

I have also seen Her. She was pulling the grass cover off the abyss underneath it. Quaking it, She would hang it on the power lines to dry up. Sticky liquid dripping off of it. It was rusty red. And I could hear Her faint song. Begging for peace. She sang about wildflowers grown in a puddle of mazut. She sang they smell like burnt lavender.