An envisioning . . . . . .1950 and a long-abandoned dacha out along the Arctic Sea . . ..

Oh to be here.

1950 and summer coming back in. A weekend to explore and the first white night to do it in. Mother tired enough not to hear the squeak as the front door opens and shuts.

Leningrad the rest of the time but freedom here. Horses to ride and a meadow of green. The boy cousin from next door and off where the grass meets the sky.

Opening the front gate to the ancient dacha and in. Belonged to someone from Moscow back before both wars. Gotten gone, they must have been, for no one remembers their ever coming back.

The sitting room and an old armchair with an entire colony of mice. Dining room with a sideboard with dust so thick that the baby cousins would be knee deep if they crept across. Cupboard with dishes and drawers filled with silver so tarnished black it would never gleam again at least not for a million lifetimes.

Up to the second floor with a left foot up against the wall and the other squished tight to a banister as the treads sway and crack.

The big bedroom and then the small. Up another flight and an attic filled with trunks. Sabres to sword fight with between the rafters but a packet in the bottom.

Pictures of pretty girls that must have been shot if they didn’t get away to Finland or Paris. But a watercolor in the bottom.

Their grandfather or his big brother, it must have been. From before everything but long after the Tsar Peter that everyone talks about in Archangel because he put all the ships there.

Bonnet like a puffball and holding some kind of stick to hit and torment his sister, no doubt. What else would a brother do . . . . if only . . . so many risings and plots and gone in any . . . . .better to not know . . . .a long life instead wherever it was. . .

Described as a portrait of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich. 19th c.
Described as a portrait of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich at a year and a half. 19th c. Watercolor. Signed Alexeeff in pencil at center right. via Facebook and No further information available. Artwork in the public domain.

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