Ukrainians gathered in the open-air museum of Pirogovo on July 6 to celebrate Ivana Kupala, an ancient summer holiday. Guests jumped over the fires, sang and danced to folk tunes. Young gils made flower wreaths and floated them in the water hoping to find a soulmate. (Olga Novak)
My reason to visit Ukraine was personal back in the late fall of 2003. It was fitting that I ended my trip by visiting the outdoor museum of Pyrogovo in Kyiv to get a glimpse into Ukraine’s past and a vision into my future.
It was a cool overcast day. The night before a light dusting of snow fell and the roofs of the museum buildings glistened with their soft coats of white. There was a sense of sadness this particular morning because I would soon be flying back to my home in Montana, leaving the lady I had corresponded with on a daily basis for 4 years behind. We felt comfortable with each other and we both knew the 4 years getting to know each other was well spent. However, the lady was having doubts whether I would ever return.
We walked hand in hand and stopped frequently to take pictures. It was very peaceful as we strolled through the different historic buildings and she told me about the different trappings of eras gone by. It made me think about my parents, who had farmed using horses and similar tools before they could afforded to modernize.
The houses and other buildings reminded me of how life on the prairie may have been for the early settlers, who came from all over Europe, to put down roots in the new world.
As we walked I reminisced about taking my parents on their first vacation after 40 years of marriage back to the Midwest where they were born and raised. It was on this trip back in the late 1970’s I saw my first house made of sod. The house was build in the 19th Century and was still being lived in by a relative back in Western Nebraska.
There was something about the atmosphere of Pyrogovo that attached itself to my heart, mind, and soul. It was as though I was Don Quixote coming to joust with the windmills that dotted the beautiful pastoral landscape to win the hand of the maiden he came to see.