I never believed I would adapt at all in such a religious city like St Petersburg. I didn’t first understand why there had to be so many churches, and all of them so massive. So the holy spirit would fit better and feel himself home too? Why an earth all the saints in the icons had another foot peeking out under the gown? Maybe they all were feeling hot and that would ease it. That’s what I accidentally said out loud the first time he took me to St Isaac’s cathedral, and at that time the Foucault’s pendulum wasn’t there anymore so maybe the holy spirit had felt the climate change too and needed now an actual fan. By now I can ask, how is it possible that so many different artists are able to capture the same kind of feeling in their work. I still wonder, after all this time.
I wonder if the artists had such moments I had once in the subway station where there was a saxophone player but I couldn’t see him but only feel his music bubbling in the air. I didn’t have a clue where the music came from and a second I thought I was the only one who could hear it. Maybe the artists have that too, only in continuum. Maybe they have the skills like that painter in Neva and the skin of a saint, the urge to feel not too hot but not too cold and a continuous, bodiless voice in their heads.
The carving “K & K” in that one pine in front of the cathedral hasn’t gone anywhere. The pines are historical monuments as well and they even have fences around them so I figured then this carving was supposed to be a silent protest and to stain on purpose the tree almost as huge as the church. The carving reminded me of “KFC” or “M&M’s” so I think it made itself clear. Were the artists noble in their minds or did it need a little bit of rebel to create spiritual art?
I still walk by Gogol quite often. Gogol was the place where I used to read all the time and he used to read as well and then we would have tea and peanuts and a conversation afterwards. I learned to use the phrase “as well” that one time he ordered coffee and after a short hesitation I ordered coffee too and then we got three coffees. I then learned to drink tea and he was proud of me because I never said how funny it would be to read Gogol in Gogol. I know I will be blinded again by the neon lights which don’t suit with the churches at all and I will still be annoyed of those elders with their microphones and green vests. I know I will run into that old gentleman in the subway and he’s going to offer me his seat and I will be an outsider one more time in those quick, longing looks passing by me in the escalator. I don’t mind that anymore.