Monday, January 22, 2007

A Cluster of Trees



A few weeks ago, we were on our vacation, driving through Eastern Poland on an inter-city bus. Sanok to Zamosc. I was dozing on Bhad's shoulder, waking up for a few minutes, and then back to sleep. I opened my eyes for a moment and was stunned at the beautiful countryside--how golden the grass was, how green the forrests were, how blue the sky was. Then, just to our left, appeared a small but not insignificant cluster of trees in the middle of a large field of golden grass. I had this strange sense that something was hidden there, it was such a strong feeling. In my mind, I urged the bus to stop and let me explore. But I resolved that I'd never know and to leave it at that.

Yesterday, we were in Krakow for the day and stopped into the Galicja Jewish Museum. This day there was a Polish Galicja photo exhibit on.

I felt my gut turn; there was the image of the same cluster of trees, unmistakeable, on the road to Zamosc. Enlarged to 3' x 2' and sparkling with brilliance were the same golds, greens, and blues; but with its beauty it carried such a weight.

A plastic sign with commentary hung under the photo. It read: Jewish cemetary, Stary Dzikow; no graves or markers remain, but the town's residents remember it being a cemetary before the war and have took measures to preserve it.

Even though this image was an absolute reflection of the image I held in my memory, I needed more. How could I, a non-Jew from Oklahoma just passing through on holiday, have known anything? How could I have felt it so deeply that my bones surged with energy?

When we got home, I peeled off my warm layers and set down my day bag. It had been on my mind all day: was it really the same landscape? Was my intuition justified? So I went for my Polska map and opened it to the city index...Stary Dzikow...coordinates: P27...

It couldn't have been clearer. Exactly in line with our route from Sanok to Rzeszow to Zamosc was a tiny dot labelled with the words Stary Dzikow.

2 comments:

ladyarchivist said...

Wow, wow wow wow..what a story.

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