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“Nothing ventured — nothing gained”
From the WU editors: this little piece is one of the readers’ essays, which have been recently received by WU, and which are sent to take part in our contest for Best Reader’s Essay About Ukraine; whenever possible, we want to present these contest essays with only little editing done on them.
I cannot but agree with a well-known proverb “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. And my everyday life is evidence of the deep wisdom these words imply. In our today’s world we are taught to weigh up all the pros and cons of any situation before making a decision. But there are times when we need to change rules and run the hazards otherwise we take a risk of losing a chance to broaden our horizons, experience and learn something new, something that may even exceed our expectations. So when we choose to live routinely instead of looking for new ways to improve ourselves and our lives we are on the point of going into decline.
I must confess I’m not one of those who risk without hesitation. And I cannot also boast that I have made a lot of brave decisions in my lifetime. But as is well known to err is human, the thing is whether you have learnt something useful and drew right conclusions from your past mistakes. But let me get down to the subject. I am longing to tell you about one exciting adventure which happened to me one spring.
The spring seems to be the ficklest season of the year. It never stops to surprise us with its whimsical tricks played on nature and people. With its thaws, floods and downpours followed by blasts of wind, sometimes even by peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, I do not find spring to be a very charming time of the year.
But on the other hand, it is in the spring that everything is awakening from its winter sleep and comes back to life. The trees begin to put forth new leaves and after some time they are decked with greenery. Later, everything blossoms and we can admire the luxurious bloom not only on the twigs of fruit trees but on the neat green carpet of grass as well. But despite of all these incredible spring wonders, there’s one thing which often causes inconvenience for those who are willing to go on a tour or just stroll in the park or in the woods — it is the changeability of the weather. We cannot be sure what is going to happen next moment: either we will be caught in a shower and be drenched to skin, or we’ll still enjoy the cloudless sunshine and the cheerful chattering of the birds that have returned from the warm countries.
The event I want to tell you about took place in the spring, when the weather was extremely unsettled — it was just a spell of bad weather. I was invited to join several of my friends to go on a hike in the Carpathian Mountains. Basically, I’m a stay-at-home person, and at first I demurred, but then, on reflection, I made up my mind to go. And so, a few days after Easter, I found myself on my way to the Carpathians. The plan was to stay at least for one night in tents. Only one of us knew how to get to that place — Urych, not far from the village of Skhidnytsya, and he himself had visited that place only once.
I should mention that never before I had been in the mountains, much less stayed in the mountains in a tent for a night. So, to say that I was overcome with emotions would be to say nothing at all.
To my great surprise, on the day of our departure, the weather looked promising. It was a lovely spring day: there was a gentle wind and one could watch the clouds drifting in the sky, the sun was peeping out from behind them from time to time, the barometer was rising.
Although the weather was marvelous and greatly contributed to the successful beginning of our trip, there was some unease in me. The thing is, I wasn’t used to leaving my own small and safe world, and just blindly take a step towards uncertainly. But there was no way back. We departed at noon and at 7 p.m. we got to our destination.
During the whole day there was an atmosphere of subdued expectancy and great curiosity in the air. If you had told me that I could walk about 12 kilometers, carrying a huge backpack, and climb steep slopes several days before the trip, I would have said it could never happen. But there I was, doing something I’d never expect I would.
You can’t even imagine what a great joy it was to finally reach the place where we would camp. We even didn’t pay attention to the black clouds which began to cover the sky. It started to drizzle and then a steady rain began to fall. The air was rather moist and chilly, but I did not get upset. Can rain prevent true lovers of nature from admiring the scenic beauty around them? I don’t think so. And the landscape was truly fascinating. In spite of the dead leaves, which covered the ground at some places, the spring green shoots were already visible everywhere.
I would never have thought that one could get so much joy and pleasure eating simple food cooked on fire! And it turned out I did not have much of a problem to fall asleep in a tent, in a strange place instead of my comfortable bed. It was so great to be woken up by the sweet twitter of birds rather than by the damned alarm clock. And what in the world can be better than a slow midnight talk by the camp fire, when there is nothing around but dense forest, a looming rock and majestic mountains!
Next morning we hiked to place with the most impressive vistas of rocks and mountains I’d ever seen. It seemed to me that I was standing on the top of the world. There was something mysterious in all of it. Everything around seemed to be unreal: the boundless blue sky, the silhouettes of inaccessible mountains — it was like a backdrop for a Hollywood film.
Such moments give people noble feelings and aspirations. The fairy-tale surroundings produced a great spiritual uplift in me. And the thought that crossed my mind was: “There’s nothing more beautiful and perfect in the world than nature.”
At the end of our hike, I was very tired, but at the same time I was overwhelmed by mixed feelings of transcendental sadness, serenity and joy. If you ever have a chance to visit Urych, do so without delay or hesitation.
By Svitlana MACHUHA
from the village of P’yanovychy, Lviv region.[Prev][Contents][Next]