This is a place of ruins.
From the Thracian tombs of 2500 years ago to this 40 year old decaying relic of communism. Buzladzha was built for the equivalent of $35 million to celebrate the Bulgarian Communist Party. Now 12 year old Archie Alfrey calls it a toilet – round bowl, tall stack. Others label it the space-ship with a phallic symbol. But it must have been glorious in the beginning! Covered with bronze, an interior inlaid with mosaics, gleaming atop the mountain as a sentinel for the future.
Then the Iron Curtain fell. It was stripped of the bronze, exposing leaking concrete joints, and now sports colorful graffiti.The mosaics are in disrepair. One can only gain entrance through a knocked-out hole and flashlight. Now all that glitters are shards of broken beer bottles, displaying a wanton disregard for enforced dogma.
Lest we be arrogant, may we remember that political systems fail.
In the place of glory, grazing horses gather in the rain and their slurry of dung nourishes colorful bouquets. Swallows swoop and flowers peak triumphantly from crevices of fallen stone.
As I look out over the undulating chain of mountains, I wonder how on earth the Turks found Shipka pass and were defeated by Russians and Bulgarians in 1877. (Notice horses in the distance.)
Below, our film crew and Archie Alfrey shoot an appeal for funding of permaculture research. (See Balkan Ecology Project, www.balkep.org, in the fall). Hopefully from the good efforts of his parents, Paul and Sophie, and their expanding community, more care will arise for the earth and its people. Hopefully we will become sustainable.
Not being politically savvy myself, nonetheless I’ve noted that the Europeans I’ve met are incredulous at the last American election. They express fear over the future of NATO and a possible alliance with Russia.
May we know that no matter how solid any political victory seems, it will shimmer and shift faster than these mountains erode. Faster than ancient civilizations are buried. Like the grass-overgrown communist amphitheater appearing at a distance as a Greek ruin, so the once great orations have drifted away in the wind – the very wind that now turns windmills that fuel capitalism in the valley below.
No matter who you voted for my friends or your fears for the future, don’t lose hope. All will change.
And around me bees pollinate.
New berry bushes creep over the concrete. Endless cycles of nature renew year after year—we hope. May all good ideas continue to flow, not from force, but from love of of nature and each other. Like the nourishing warmth of the morning sun, even as human systems decay, may hope prevail.