Aktualizováno: 12. 4. 2021
This is a short text I wrote in March 2020 after going back to the Czech Republic because of the pandemic. The text was published on the UpBeat PSS Liverpool blog.
Right now, I’m in a tiny village in the south of the Czech Republic. I came here from London with my partner when our universities got closed due to the current situation. As we could not be in Prague with our families because of the compulsory after-arrival quarantine, we went to the countryside.
The journey from Prague takes only an hour, but within that hour of travelling, the surrounding environment completely changes. From a fast-paced city, through busy highway to roads which are so narrow that one car can barely fit. On these roads, you have to be careful. There are usually no other cars nor other people, but animals might jump in front of your car. Especially at night. When driving on these roads at night, the dense darkness surrounds you and all you can see is the meandering path. And sometimes, two sharp eyes illuminated by your reflectors fearlessly stare at you from the dark. At this moment, you hope that the animal won’t be as fearless as it looks. When you get out from the forest, there is only a short drive ahead of you, and you reach that tiny village in which I am now.
All the roads to that village are downhill. Well, all is a euphemism. There are only two roads, so both roads to that village are downhill. When entering the village, there is a paddock for a couple of horses, and if you drive slowly, they come and greet you. The gate to the paddock is right next to the mouth of a small path leading to the fields. They are grey at the moment but will become green in a couple of weeks.
There is a small village square and about thirty houses in total. The air is saturated with the scent of soil, smoke from the chimneys and upcoming spring. I’m a filmmaker, and during my studies, I was told that certain sounds should be included in a soundscape if you want the audience to feel like they are in a village.
When I stand still in front of our little cabin and quietly listen, I can hear them all. Muffled radio, barking dogs, chainsaw, gentle breeze, yelling kids. The village is surrounded by hills, and all these sounds resonate between them. On one of the hills, the forest is so sparse that you can sometimes see a deer doe weaving its way through. It is cold, remnants of snow can still be spotted on northern sides of the hills, and the bird feeder is busy. Yet, a hint of spring is in the atmosphere. Our tiny house is full of sleeping bugs, especially ladybirds, who are soon woken up by the heat from the stove. Even though there is heating, we always use the old stove and wood for heating. As soon as the room gets warmer, all the up to now dreaming animal start to fly around in puzzlement. It is not spring; it is us who woke them up.
But as days pass by, the real spring starts to thrust its way in nature and sun gains strength. Hills and fields are becoming green, birds enthusiastically twitter, flowers are coming into blossom. The nights are still cold, but days are bright, and as the vernal equinox approaches, nature gives us a clear message – the winter is over.
A stream at the edge of the garden throws little glints of the sun to the spider webs on the terrace and first bumblebees and butterflies flit around. Nature is in expectation of the hot days when air flutters. In expectation of the warm nights when earth still emits heat. In expectation of dried fields and mosquito swarms. But that is going to take some more time. Now the morning phase of the year comes. The garden is waking up, same as the bugs did in our room when we arrived. It is possible to sit outside again and breath in the freshness, the spring, the hope. Nature does not know about the current situation in the world, nor do the animals. They follow the annual cycle as they always did and burst with re-gained energy. It is beautiful to observe it and become part of the process.