I continue to walk in my moccasins this village in awe like in a musical dream state . The air is filled with the incense of nectar , open fires , burning leaves and the scent of spices cooking . Daily I’m chopping firewood , gathering fallen walnuts and feeling the sun . Yesterday I climbed high into an apple tree under the bluest sky just like I did as a young girl ! The land here is open with no fences and the animals are taken out to graze daily by a shephard who gets paid a fixed amount for each one in his care . At night the cows , goats and sheep are milked and kept in the yards behind the houses . It’s so lovely morning and evening to hear the different bells the animals wear tinkling in the distance before you even see them .
Monday , the old man shaking the bell from his donkey cart , who I had noticed before but was too nervous to approach , came down the lane yelling out in Bulgarian , so I decided to finally see what it was all about … he was sharpening tools and said his name was Milo , so I brought him the much used axe and his thankful smile as I handed him some coins , blessed my day .
There is no hot water here so I’m constantly boiling on top of the wood stove in the evenings and outside in the fire pit during the day . Some homes still use stone wells where a bucket is lowered from a rope . Just outside of my gate there is an old cracked cement drinking structure that I think is used for rain water for the animals returning from the fields . A walnut tree overhangs here and a few days ago I noticed that someone had cracked walnuts open with a stone on this cement … Many Roma’s live here and I see that some hang blankets over the doorways of abandoned buildings , with cots on the ground under areas of the tiled ceilings that are still standing … So now I leave apples and figs there and they are always gone the next morning . Today , a rose was left there . The Thracians called this place in Bulgaria the ” valley of roses ” and perfume and rose oil are still very highly prized from this area .
The villagers have welcomed me in many unusual ways … little Bobi with her dolls , Rosetti, ( no , roll the R she repeats to me and laughs when I try ) and Angala , a sweet teenager with bare feet who runs out from her gate and puts her arm thru mine as we walk in silence together a little ways . And a group of junior high aged kids ( school day from 9 to one) have jokes with me saying names in our differant languages . I’m beginning to recognize certain ones , the skinny boy with black hair sticking straight up , the charming one with the shy smile and the dark skinned girl with the pale green eyes … they are all so beautiful to me . Too , there is the nice old man with the hand knit woolen sweater , wool cap , and baggy pants tucked into his boots and two kind women both named Elana .
I wish you could hear the sounds , a strange language with mothers scolding children , the cattle man directing the cows with their heavy hoofs , a particular laughter of the women at the open market . I wish I could take these sounds home , remember it all . As I write I feel both a tremendous sadness and a joy , a wanting from within me , something ecstatic . I choose my words carefully , this is what I truly feel for it rises in my chest like the water from the well and I swallow and my eyes brim with tears as if I will overflow. I don’t know what this is or where it came from or just when it began . I never thought I could find so much in the passage of the cows and horses or in the sounds of the village children playing . Something has changed , last night I was invited to a village families home for a New Year’s Eve meal and part of me wants to mark this as the moment of change although I know that it isn’t . The change is something that has come more slowly , perhaps it even began before I left home . What this change means I don’t know , just like I don’t know if I am happier or sadder than I have ever been . There is a purpose in all this although I do not know yet what it is . There is so much that remains unsaid.