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February 25, 2004 by AK

And the weather will soon resemble November…

On the third day of Lent, thinking of Thanksgiving. Right, life is packed with oppositions and dichotomies, so living is a continuous act of balancing.

On the one hand, Thanksgiving, taken earnestly, has a deep religious meaning. Thinking of the Pilgrims, remember Russian Old Believers: many of those involuntary pilgrims took refuge not across the sea but in far-flung forests north of the Volga. There they dwelled in austere autonomy, decrying the fallen world and bedamning the government. Then, in two hundred years and a few decades after their flight began, we would find Old Believer merchants — a kind renowned for honesty and keeping to old ways — sponsoring the most modern varieties of arts and letters. (It is to Old Believers Schukin and Morozov that Russia owes its excellent collection of Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Degas, etc.)

On the other one, the bunch of killjoys aboard the Mayflower — or their brethren in so-called faith — would soon proceed to root out the lovely custom and the vernal symbol that gave the name to their unearthen vessel. From Merry Old England to dreary New England… But not for long, right?


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