© 2017 by Diana Guralev Art

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Swimming in the river

August 10, 2017

The summers in the north-east didn't use to be very hot, but hot enough. So we would often swim in the river that runs through the whole Ulič Valley. Now, there were several good spots in my village where we could wade or jump or sit in the water, but only two where the water was deep enough to have a proper swim: one across the road from the church, and one right behind those trees that you see in the photo standing behind that little shed there. That place is not in the village itself, but at the end, where the fields stretch. Most of these are now only grass and wildflowers, but back in the day they were full of potatoes, wheat, corn, cabbage, beans and what not. That all ceased.

 

So back to my swimming story. The deep water that we were after was down the rocky slope with tall trees, so the sun could only peek through the crowns, leaving the water cold and dark. It was also right at where the course of the river changed abruptly, creating this still pool of water before it gathered its strength again, happily burbling on further down the stream. I remember the tiniest flies that looked like dots hanging around the water, but we didn't mind. We left our clothes on the stones, and just dived in. So cold! And our dogs, Boyar and later Esan, would swim right next to use. There wasn't a lot of room, but we could get some more if we were brave enough to go towards the rocky slope, which we weren't. It was a bit mysterious, and scary, too, with all the branches and rocks and roots hanging down...

 

Today there is an info-board nearby about the Dark Sky Park Poloniny that marks the 49th parallel running through the area and it is there where we can enjoy looking at a starry sky without any light pollution. The land belongs to the association of Jewish religious communities because once upon a time there was a Jewish cemetery there.

 

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