As I am leaving Donetsk in two days, I have been trying to squeeze as many activities into my brief time as possible. Spending time with friends, going to concerts, seeing parts of the city I hadn't seen. I'd thought I'd exhausted most of what was worth seeing in the city center, but as I walked through Sherbakova Park yesterday, I realized I'd missed out on the wildest, most natural part of the city.
Wedged in between a highway, some factories and apartment buildings, the park is a sizable oasis in this industrial town. However, I'd only ever walked along one narrow strip of forest alongside a small lake where old, overweight Ukrainian women would sunbathe and young men would exercise on Soviet jungle gyms. Sometimes I'd even walk into the amusement park in the center where moonbounces, slides, and even a small roller coaster echo with children's laughter and shiny plastic prizes litter the landscape. They've also just completed a huge indoor water park right on the lake.
I would sometimes ruminate on the wastefulness and unseemliness of such structures in the midst of a beautiful forest. And because of this, I never explored deeper. But yesterday, I found on the opposite bank dirt paths and thick masses of reeds hiding frogs that were croaking in spring heat. Birds sang and fluttered from bushes whose leaves they matched in number. And people picnicked in shorts and dresses, fires smouldering, the smell of food and drink penetrating the humid air. It was beautiful and I only wish I'd gone there more often during this journey.
In nature you can lose yourself. Getting lost is becoming more whole as you realize you are free to get lost and get found and to shout and smile and die. You are free, like the heart of nature, to grow and adapt, but also like a human, to think and believe. The definitions we live with in cities, the symbols and the images, interrupt our inherent connection to the source. We've replaced and transmuted nature into our own monuments, but we have become beholden to them while forgetting their origins. We have created disharmony from harmony.