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The Dome

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The Dome  

essays  

by  

Lara Biyuts  

The Dome  

In memory of the Author s Ahnfrau, the best grandmother ever (1914-2009). RIP.  

But what is more important, Notre Dame,  

your monstrous ribs I studied from the start  

and oft I thought: I too will make fine art  

from sturdy heaviness through which I came.  

(from Silver Age)  

Part 1.  

Light, Shades and Kitty  

The Dome  

(impression)  

A church. I began with the open doors and windows. They emitted semi-darkness and wind; they pushed me away and sucked me in at the same time, tearing my essence to pieces. My essence cursed, but the voice from the dome said: Hush, hush& My essence put on a black robe and gloves. The shutters closed with a bang. The dome watched me unwinking so pityingly and persistently that I could not endure its eye, and fell my own eye down on my toes. It was too hard for my feet, and I, the eye s owner flung it away. In order not to see the treacherous-affectionate eyes of the dome, I looked at the flickering candle-flame. The flame was so hot that my eye covered with hoarfrost. In order not to put myself to the torture again, I gave myself to the sympathy which outpoured from above. I guess, the dome was too wise to fix its eye upon me alone, and now it watched somebody else. A red-haired woman. The woman responded so bravely that I felt like imitating her, and I attempted to bid defiance to the dome. The dome just smiled and yawned in reply. And the church seemed to be a big yawn. The church got bored with my timid achromatic actions, and its slight left me outside and without my robe. Finding myself in the snowy street, I shivered with cold and went to somewhere.  

Helio-graphy or Once Written...  

On the 19th of January, 2010, was Epiphany Day in our part of the world. And far in the day, at night, in my sleep, I saw my late relatives, therefore the next day, 20 January, I went to the church to order remembrance of the dead in prayer as it was an old custom of us, Orthodox Christians. I go to church seldom, as I said more than once in my blog, only when it s time to care about my late relatives remembrance. In the church, after I did it and bought a candle, I went to the special altar, which was in the right corner of the church to place my candle there. It was sunny day, and I could see the sun in the window-pane, the whole disc of pale gold, which shone blinding eyes. One the top of the altar there were numerous candles, which the believers lit for their dead. I lit my candle among them, drew myself up and made a bow to the big crucifix. It took me perhaps ten seconds to do all this, and as I did this, something happened, namely: when I approached to the altar, the sunshine struck upon my face through the window, whose lower part was on my eyes level. When I made the bow, my head was in the shade for a moment--I drew myself up, and I could see the sun again, and at the moments, I got the idea of being standing in the position when I could see the sun and to say prayers to it. Not under a spell yet impressed anyway, I was standing in front of the altar and in front of the window at the same time, perhaps like those medieval people in awe of the complex and ornate stained glass windows in the churches that were the major pictorial form in the Middle Ages and serving as illustrations of the Bible to the largely illiterate parishioners, who maybe not realizing, deified the light which humans worshiped long before Christianity. Standing still, I began watching the sun in the simple transparent windowpane. I could watch the sun without winking like a cat--what wonder, the windowpane was covered with the mists of the season, however bright the sunshine was that day--but I blinked just in case, because this experience was unknown to me and I was afraid of a harm to my eyes. Meanwhile, the world around was transformed beyond recognition. The sun in my eyes transformed the wall, which supposedly was in front of me, into darkness that is I could not see the wall at all. Only the small tongues of flame were visible underneath and against the darkness, which was all remained from the altar that disappeared almost entirely. This sight was so interesting and so unusual for this usual familiar place, big church with light walls and big windows built in Chekhov s times. I felt joy at heart doing my duty to my dear dead, and in addition, there was the unexpected play of light and shade, caused with the sun in my eyes, which looked supernatural, and which only I could see. I could be staying long in this way, worshiping to the sun and recalling my dear dead, but I was afraid of my hampering other believers at the altar therefore I had to change my position. I stepped aside, and on the instant, I could see again the wall with the big crucifix of wood and the rectangular altar with the smaller crucifix of bronze, because the sun was hidden to my eyes now, and the rest world began to exist again. I left the corner and went to the part of the church at the front door in order to buy a bottle of holly water. And then I went home.  

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