(written ~ a month ago, when I went to visit Sveta and Sasha for the first time. Unfinished, but I’m too lazy to finish it now. Dill with it.)

One thing that I love about Russia and was only recently able to put my finger on is the lack of distinction between civilization and nature. When we go to Germany or the US or most other places we like to be tourists, we appreciate either (apparently) pure nature or places that have been tamed completely. We put the smooth grass, the orderly fences, and the carefully-arranged flower beds into one group, and Yosemite into the other. We really don’t like when they mix.

I don’t know whether Russia never figured out how to divide civilization from nature, or if there was a sort of collective decision that it wasn’t a good idea, but in any case, the distinction doesn’t exist. There are no straight lines–except the high-rises, which are surrounded by wild growing grasses, nettles, and sometimes flowers (and dirt. A lot of dirt). Especially in the villages, every structure defies geometrical classification, every board insists on letting its grain show through the paint.