“No mountains. We’re more of a woodland. Virgin forests. Rivers and lakes. Lakes are the loveliest”, he said and could not help but revive memories. “My hamlet of Tsyareshki is just next to two lakes. On a calm late afternoon, water’s flat. Like a mirror. And the forest hangs treetops down. As if painted. Just fish splash. Pikes are huge! It’s head and shoulders above mountains!”
Being an untalkative character, he said too much for one time, felt it at once and stopped speaking. But his stirred thoughts and images were already there, in the distant home land, and at the wild jumble of rocks he was feeling so unbearably lonely as he had not for a long time in captivity.
She must have felt that and, once he was silent, asked: “Speak more. Speak your Belorus.”
Meanwhile, the sun got covered with a grey foggy cloud again.
A swift grey shadow fell down on the bare mountainside and a trail trodden aslant it; wet smoky ragged clouds rapidly moved across the slope. It was bitterly cold and windy.
Clumsily and somewhat reluctantly at first, pausing frequently, living old memories again, he started telling her, as if about something faraway, dear and extraordinary, about oak groves bountiful with large acorns, about beaver huts on lakes, about icy cold, healing birch sap in spring and about the scent of bird-cherry blossom in May.
(translated from Belarusian; excerpt from Alpine Ballad by Vasil Bykau)