Unintentional residency, Mooste

“It’s not that I don’t like people. I just feel better when they’re not around.”
–Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski, Barfly

I’m at the end of a pretty heavy load: five workshops in four different cities in five weeks. That must have left me pretty groggy, because I managed to miss my cheap flight home from the final workshop in Estonia last weekend. So I’m currently engaged in a sort of accidental residency at MOKS in Mooste until next week when the tickets become affordable again.

It was many degrees below zero outside when I began to write this Tuesday night, and even the deepest footprints got buried by snow within an hour. My first action was to crank up the heat in the smallest room of the building, pile every mattress I could find on the floor, throw four or five blankets on top of that and bunker myself in.

I am completely alone here. There was a shy local boy once. He showed me how to light the fire, and then I never saw him again. If I want company, there are three busses a day to the next village where Evelyn Muursepp, the organizer of MOKS and my kind benefactor this week, lives. The local grocery store is also quite an experience, resulting in my current diet of bread, cheese, pickles and vodka. Every night I throw wood into the fire at 30 minute intervals until I’m too tired to continue. Then I fill up a couple 2L Coke bottles with hot water and climb into bed with them.

Is it all worth it? Hell yes. Almost every day I spend a couple hours navigating the quiet, frozen forests of the Estonian countryside, everything covered in white and the dead black arms of the trees reaching for the gray-blue sky. I’ve never seen a national flag so appropriate:

Image: .Janne.

So still, with some kind of Black Metal soundtrack playing in my head…”Eternal winterrrrrrrrrr…” And Thursday afternoon–snowblind! Unimaginably intense white light, coming from all directions. I retreat into shadows of the woods until I can no longer see straight lines, right angles, Euclidean geometry, any evidence of the work of human hands…

I’ve started to wonder why people live in cities at all, until I remember the awful reality: there’s just too damned many of them to do otherwise!


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