As I move through the Ringing Cedars series, the idea of living in the Siberian wilderness once again came up for review. I’ve always been magnetically drawn to this remote part of the world, probably because it is so remote. At lunch with my son Colin last week, I told him about the series, and he mentioned that he had watched a fascinating video of a Russian woman who was born in the taiga, and who was 70 years old when she was filmed there. My neighbor Rebecca (whose ancestors are Siberian!) and I decided to watch this 35-minute film. Result: it depressed us; both because the woman seemed so stuck mentally in the Russian Orthodox religion and because she kept her excitable dog on a short chain. He was there only to alert her to approaching bears. She never allowed him to run free. And she didn’t seem to care. He had a function; he did not have a life.
That said, this woman knows a hell of a lot. For example, she pointed to chem trails in the sky overhead and said they were “very bad.”
The man below will only be spending 6 months in this remote way of life. He knows when it will end. (He’s keeping track!) He comes from elsewhere and will leave to go back (we presume). Very very different than what the woman in the film above endures.
Oh, the 70-year-old woman does have one neighbor, a man about her age who has only one leg. She chops his wood and brings it to him, and just generally takes care of him, even though he’s extremely strange, and apparently at two points in their long association tried to rape her. (I presume she’s a virgin.) I wonder, how does she stand living near this rapacious weirdo? But then I thought, well, that’s what it’s like to live as neighbors. No matter who they are, we must learn to get along — especially in survival situations.
In any case, I think I’m over the Luddite romance.
January 21, 2014
“The idea is to see if a modern man can survive alone in an early medieval environment, what impact this kind of lifestyle will have on his psychological state” says Alexey Ovcharenko, who is the driving force behind the “Alone in the Past” project.
For six months — until March 22 — Pavel will live in a medieval farm without electricity, running water, Internet access and other modern comforts. The autumn and winter seasons were chosen on purpose — scientists want to explore the everyday challenges faced by medieval people during the toughest time of the year.
If given the chance, would you be brave enough to live alone in the past?
This calendar helps keep track of time.