Lipnica 2017

At eleven years old, cousin S jumped on a bus at ten in the morning and rode half an hour to Jablonka to spend the day with L. And what did they do? Sew. Sort of.

At times, it was a bit of a mystery what exactly they were doing, other than enjoying a rainy, gray morning.

After lunch we headed to Lipnica, my home seven years and K’s home for one. It’s now twenty-one years since I first arrived in that eighteen-kilometer village, and some things have changed beyond recognition and something are exactly as they were in 1996, or even 1986, or perhaps 1976.

The school in which I taught, which was so very new when I arrived (it was only a year old and not even completed) now is beginning to show its age. It looks old, to be honest. It looks a little neglected. It looks like every little has been done to the outside since being built. Somehow that seems about right and out of place at the same time. Poland is in such a state of development — so many new buildings and such — and yet, buildings built in the mid-90’s? They seem somehow to have fallen into disrepair. They look like, in a few years, they’ll look like the buildings I became so accustomed to when I arrived 20+ years ago. Tired, out of date, yet still functional and functioning.

And some things have not changed at all. This house looks exactly like it did four years ago, exactly like it did in 1996, and that was probably how it looked in 1986, and it might have even looked like that before then. It’s eternally surowy, raw, unfinished.

Other things — I never noticed.

What are these ruins? What was here before? Were they always like this? It’s right beside the school where I taught for seven years, but I saw it for the first time today.

This too.

It’s a century-old house (at least) but it looks like someone tried to renovate it — clearly didn’t know what they were doing. Or perhaps I’m totally wrong. Still, I don’t remember it. And what does that mean? Very little, I’m sure. But we always place such a premium on what we remember…

This I remember. But the roof — it’s been renovated. Gone are the asbestos-based shingles that had probably been there, what? Thirty years? Forty? K’s parents replaced their asbestos-based roof more than ten years ago — what took them so long? After all, this was the GS-owski shop. Things have simply changed — that’s all.

All except for children and their willingness to be silly.