Traveling brings about so many changes in one’s life, it makes you more aware of your surroundings and the goings on within the community where you reside. I have experienced so many new and cherished activities, yet I have also seen things that astonish me. An example is the ritual of rug beating, when I first journeyed around my neighborhood I was fascinated that so many swing sets had been abandoned or there were an overabundance of chin up bars yet I was confused if they were chin up bars why did the men not look like adonises. At any rate I was confused because these swing set bars were everywhere, rather than ask I just kept my eyes out for anyone attempting to demonstrate what these were.
Then as I was basking in a day of sunshine, which is a luxury all to itself in Belarus during the winter. I notice people carrying rugs out of their houses and bringing them to the park all rolled up, as I watched intently they unrolled their bundles in the snow and started covering their rugs with the white nectar that God had so softly placed on the ground beating them with mattenkloppers as I have since found out is what they are called.
The individuals fill the rugs with snow beat them on the ground for a while and let the snow soak into the fabric. then the families pick up the carpets bring them over to my abandoned swing sets drape them over the top of the pipe and proceed to beat the rugs again.
This was a ritual that was carried out quite often when the snow was fresh and white.
The other day as Irina and I were returning from a walk we ventured up to our apartment only to see that an individual had strapped his recliner on his back carried it down several flights of stairs and was outside filling it with snow and beating it.
This activity was even astonishing to Irina as she looked at me and said in clear English …Crazy, just Crazy.
I never know what to expect when I go out for my walks but I am learning a whole new world of amazement awaits me at every turn.