LAKE BAIKAL – A spot of silence
There are silent places on Earth, where words are weakened. Words lose their meanings or take on different ones – especially when we try to narrate these places. The wanderer is always alone here, as he cannot escape this bell formed by the interaction of the self and the place. He stays together both within himself and with the scene.
Baikal is this kind of place for me, with pine-trees standing bolt-upright and in places birches on the steep hillside, peaks behind us, and the endless water surface ahead. Lake Baikal is a fresh-water sea surrounded by peaks, a legend, at once a pure song of praise and obscene skit, miraculous and banal,
crystalline and obscured, gigantic, unapproachable and unprotected, vulnerable, like the soul of Russia.
If someone wanted to, they could go on and on about all the things they have found out about Lake Baikal. For instance, Valentin Rasputin. ‘I’m still fighting with Baikal, and I can feel my deafness and dumbness – so that I’m unable to put down the things I can see. Man doesn’t have enough organs to take in the meaning of a miracle like this.’ No one in this earthly life can take in Baikal, and you certainly cannot narrate it. What’s left for us is that we – and maybe the camera – know about it.
László M. Lengyel