Agafia’s Taiga Life
A Documentary by Vice Media
Agafia Lykov. Photo credit: Siberian Times.
In 1936 Karp Lykov took his family and fled into the Siberian wilderness to avoid Stalin and persecution because of their religion. Called the Old Believers, they belonged to a sect of Russian Orthodox fundamentalists. Over the years they retreated deeper and deeper into the Taiga, a forested region in the heart of Siberia, where temperatures are extreme and civilization is non-existent.
Agafia was born into that life in 1943. Agafia saw no one but family for 40 years. And then no one at all for 25 years until a geologist moved a short distance away. All that time, she’d been a woman alone, living off the land.
Journalists from Vice Media visited Agafia to shoot a documentary about her life for their Far Out series. She relates what it’s like to live in the company of her animals, her faith, occasional encounters with bears and rocket debris, a way of life that gets much more difficult as she ages. Her story is an example of pockets in the world where people are living in solitude by circumstance and often by choice.
Watch it online for free. Length: 36 minutes.
To read about another in this series and watch the documentary, see Faustino’s Patagonian Retreat.
My friend Oscar and I are in Paris for a brief respite before heading south in a few days to walk the Camino de Santiago. Today we ventured out of town via train. I was looking forward to returning to Barbizon, the picturesque village tucked in next to the Fontainebleau Forest where artists like Rousseau, Millet, Corot and others painted and made up the Barbizon School. I didn’t take into account the complications of getting there without a car, particularly the last leg which indicated we’d likely be stuck there for the night. So, quite disappointed I decided we’d better go back. We arrived at Gare de Lyon, one of Paris’ train hubs, and did some people-watching for a while before heading down the stairs to the metro.
I commented to Oscar there used to be musicians playing in the metro. We hadn’t seen any since we’d been there, and I missed it. Half a beat later I heard strains of music, dashed around the corner…and what are the chances? A bit of real-life déjà vu. As if on cue, the musical ensemble Classique Metropolitain struck up Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major just as they did in 2008 when friends and I stumbled upon them in Place des Vosges. The unexpected music made my spirits soar immediately as it did back then, the time and place anchored in my memory.
Disappointment forgotten. How often is it that we’re able to relive life’s small pleasures that aren’t so small?
To see the original post on Unexpected Music with You Tube video of Classique Metropolitain, go here.