Young Naturalist

When I was little, I subscribed to a late-Soviet magazine for children about the environment called the Young Naturalist. It was published on low-quality, cigarette-thin paper that wasn't meant to last and did not have much of the kind of photography that would appeal to children. Yet I have vivid memories of reading it--the act more so than the content; though at times I suddenly get the Russian name of some rare animal in my head when watching a David Attenborough documentary only to realize that I must've memorized it years ago.

That experience goes with another--being out in the woods with my parents when I was as young as two years old. Perhaps a false memory based on stories and old, damaged photographs below, we walked for miles picking mushrooms to fry and pickle or just enjoyed being away from hot and smog-filled summer Moscow. My mother never misses the opportunity to jokingly remind me of how good a child I was back then (evidently, to emphasize my later rebellious phases).

And so what seems like another lifetime in a country that no longer exists cycles back with a vengeance every time I am out on a hike in the Canadian-prairie woods or the mountains of the American Northwest, the phenomenological continuum expanding and contracting like a spring.