around, as if to assure her that she would not be overheard. "With all of
this considered," she almost whispered, "why shouldn't you fall in
love with the Major and allow yourself to embrace each other as time permits? To
judge by the way she has been looking at you all morning, I would be much
surprised if this didn't result into something beautiful for both of you, and
maybe for us all."
have I been that blind?" I asked in reply, and grinned.
"So, go to her. Look her up. She shouldn't be hard to find. Ask her about
the reindeer research. Ask her where the herds hold out in the winter, and so
forth. Obviously, we need to bring reindeer pictures back with us. Here is your
chance. And keep your eyes open to her. I think she is a beautiful person when
you get to know her."
suppose I may begin by asking her name," I said to Anton, and excused
myself with a grin.
was reluctant to reveal her name. She explained that they had been discouraged
years ago to use their real name at the base. So, rather than lying to people by
using a fake name, she said that she decided to simply call herself by her
title: The Major.
real name is Nina Tuleyev," she volunteered when I stopped prodding.
"My real home is far away from here, in a small fishing village on the
Black Sea. It's called Tuzly." She told me that when they were children,
their parents would take them sometimes to the big delta of the Danube River to
watch the birds before their migration north. She explained that for some
strange reason, this image of the birds migrating north for the summer got her
interested in coming north, herself. "That's probably why I became a
veterinarian, and why I signed up later with the Reindeer Research Center. All
this happened before the center became what it is now."
there any herds left nearby?" I asked.
she said. "Would you like to see one?"
you better come with me. Do you still remember the size of your flight
I told her
that I didn't. Strangely, she didn't seem to mind going through the motion once
more to find me one that fits.
rickety old workhorse is often used to supply food to the herds in extreme
weather," she explained when we were finally in the air. As it was, it
didn't take long to find a few herds and to give me an opportunity to use up
some film. According to the script, this was my cover story. With Nina as my
guide, it was easy to fulfill this mission. Since I came for pictures, she gave
me a gold mine to take my fill. Since I also came to explore her love, and she
obviously felt it, she provided the gold herself in countless little ways and
gestures, and looks, and smiles. She also pointed out that she was hoping to
find a large herd crossing a frozen lake that we could land on, in order to
watch the reindeer close up. Half an hour later, after checking a few lakes she
found one. The lake was a large one, the largest we had come to. It was
completely covered with a blanket of snow, brilliantly white. As she eased the
airplane down in front of the herd, the loose powder swirled around, stirred up
during the landing. It completely obscured the herd that was coming towards us,
which soon surrounded us. The animals appeared like ghosts out of the stirred up
ice fog. Nina said that it would be save to get out of the aircraft when they
came, since the plane and its people are not unfamiliar to them. Of course she
was right. None of the animals seemed in anyway disturbed by the encounter. They
stopped briefly and snooped as they came by, just in case there was food
forthcoming. When they realized that there was none they wandered off.
frightening at first to be so surrounded, but also terribly exciting to stand in
this sea of fine animals that came and looked us over and then departed. I
embraced Nina out of sheer excitement and gratitude, and with a kiss that said
more than just thank you. It all happened spontaneously and naturally.
sparkled as if they were reflecting the same excitement that I felt, which
evidently was the case. She didn't seem to mind the kiss. She didn't scold me or
pull away, but smiled instead in a way I had not seen her smile before.
on the ice for a long while after the animals had come through. We talked and
even embraced each other at one point, while we watched the herd slowly
disappear in the distance under a cloud if ice fog of their own creating. When
there was nothing left of them to see we strolled back to the plane.
plane wasn't hard. Nina had kept the cargo hatch open. Some snow had blown
inside. While helping each other to get back into the plane and clear the snow
out, Nina happily managed to return the kiss. After this, of course, it was my
turn again. She explained that the engine needed a three-minute warm-up prior to
takeoff. Oh, this time that was well utilized by both of us.
on our herd once more after being airborne again, and then searched for others.
Miraculously, we made it back to the base in time for supper. The flight suites
were quickly shed, and our normal clothes put back on. When the bell rang we
were back at our places, but things were not the same as they had been before.
Anton was right, she is a beautiful person to be with.
supper, Nina showed me the station's telescope. It didn't seem to matter that
neither of us knew anything about the stars, but the stars were beautiful
nevertheless. The sky was so brilliant with them. We just stood there and held
each other, and looked up into this great ocean of lights.
As we left,
we saw Antonovna come in with another person from the base. She winked at me and
private apartment was the largest, according to her rank. It was located on the
top floor of the high-rise. One could see across the forest from her place, to a
distant lake or meadow. In the moonlight, the landscape became a world of ice
castles, ruled by the evil mouse king from the Nutcracker Suite. She even had
the music for it. Also, we could see the whole magical world right from her bed.
She felt soft, warm, and wonderful. She said, there had never been such a
visitor in her castle, as I. She had longed for it, but when she opened her
eyes, there was never anyone there. "Now it is different, and it seems so
like a dream," she added.
let the music talk for us, we just danced our role to the full, since we knew
the outcome already. So it was that the dancing made the evening rich, and this,
once again, was unhurried. This time, the magic of the dance was not controlled
by the master magician, Drosselmeyer, as dictated by the score. It was love. It
was love as it was represented in the design of the ballet. This love was a rich
outflow from our hearts that went far beyond what even the best theatrical
metaphor could ever symbolize. Our love was greater than that. We were both sure
about its reality.
music of the ballet ended the melodies lingered on like an echo from the soul.
It was a spiritual journey we were on, with beautiful spiritual melodies about
ice castles and love with which we allowed ourselves to drift off to sleep.
clock rang at six AM. Nina got out of bed to turn the heat up and then came
back. "We have half an hour," she said, and cuddled up to me.
"Why is it that I feel so at ease with you?" she said. "Being
with you seems to be the most natural thing in the world. Can you explain
feel that way, because that's the way it is. We are not strangers to one
another. We are part of the same humanity, with the same feelings, hopes, joys,
and aspirations. Why should we not meet each other on this level as two human
beings in love with the humanity that we share?"
make it sound so simple," said Nina.
is, but it took a lot of work to realize that."
we are more closely connected that we think. You are a scientist, right? As a
scientist you work on a platform that has been build up by countless discoveries
made by the great pioneers of our past, some of which have lived thousands of
years ago. The way you tackle a problem may reflect to some degree how Plato
would have approached the problem of making a discovery, or Kepler, or Gauss, or
Leibnitz. They are a part of our humanity by which we have become enriched. We
have learned from them the process of making discoveries. In a sense, they are
still alive in us. Their ideas have become a part of us as we discover their
achievements and the process of making discoveries; by which they enrich us
further; by which they help us to develop ourselves; by which they help us to
shape our world. No person lives truly alone in this larger sphere of our
humanity. However, we have become pretty good in isolating ourselves from it,
and so we feel alone for that reason. Unfortunately, it is rather hard to
overcome the resulting self-isolation and connect up with one another within the
sphere of the humanity that we all share. Of course, when we finally manage to
do that, the result is wonderful, we feel good about it. Our lives feel richer
all evidence, Nina agreed with me. She didn't say so in so many words, but in
many other ways her agreement came to light just the same. Actually, there were
no further words exchanged until the alarm clock rang a second time.
was served at the cafeteria. It was never necessary to prepare breakfast for us,
nor was it possible. Anton was already there when we arrived. "Did you know
that the permafrost north of Yakutia goes down to five-hundred-seventy
meters?" asked Anton when we joined her at her table.
thirteen-hundred feet!" I translated. "No, I didn't know that," I
found that out last night," she told us. She told us that in the early days
a merchant had started digging a well for water. He had worked on this well for
over ten years. At this point the well was a hundred-twenty meters deep and
there was still no water. That's when he gave up. Little did he know that this
was merely a quarter of the depth of the permafrost cover.
probably all the same to the reindeer that inhabit the land," I said,
"who have been here long before we came onto the scene. Those are beautiful
animals, Anton. We flew out to a lake, yesterday, and landed right in front of
their path. We were right in the middle of them as they came by."
thought something like this would happen," Anton grinned. "I was told
last night that many of the herds would not exist, if it weren't for the people
of the station, here." Anton was looking at Nina, smiling. "I was told
that it was really the people's compassion for the wild herds that gave this
station the official cover-up designation as a reindeer research outpost."
it had been a research station earlier on," said Nina. "Eventually, it
became a sort of research station once again. The scientists here believe that
the original reindeer population was less than a fifth of what the wild
population is today. I think we had something to do with that."
reindeer have a lot of good people looking after them," I replied.
some bad ones too," Anton added quietly, looking at Nina. "You have a
mole in your organization."
smiled and nodded. Anton told her his name, but Nina just laughed. "The boy
is too obvious to be mole. He is too naive to be a serious threat," she
said. "Still, though he may only be one of Koldunov's men, we have to be
of Aquarius, Chapter 7)
related to love
Let's drink to the truth
A girl named Lianhua
Love: The Thing - I had a dream
Land of Four Rivers
Queen of the New Law
The voice of a bird woke me
The Royal Dance
Love Among the Stars
Harvest is Seedtime
Love: Home Page
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