Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

 

As a Child, Rita Loved to Wander Alone

The Woods of Russia

When I was a kid in Russia my mom believed I needed to spend time in the country. I did, I did. My mom rented a room for me and my grandma in Zelenogorsk, north of St. Petersburg, for the summer. She came down on weekends.

There were woods, mountains and swamps, and the best part – I was allowed to go alone in the woods! Now, that must seem unbelievable to people like us in the present. It even seemed unbelievable to me when I got back to the city in the fall. I would go in the woods in the morning and came back in the evening. It was like a full-time job. Of course, there were no cell phones then, no way of knowing if something happened.

Everyone trusted me more with being in the woods alone than with someone. Once my grandma’s friend invited us to go hiking with her, then she got us lost in the swamp. We ended up in the middle of a huge swamp, we had to cross this creek about 6′ wide, that looked very shallow with a nice sandy bottom, and my grandma’s friend said, “We can walk right across.” But I shook my head and stuck my walking stick into the creek, and the stick was sucked out of my hand like by a powerful vacuum cleaner. I said, “If we have to get across, that would be the way,” and I pointed to a skinny tree crossing the creek, which was obviously a quicksand. My grandma and her friend felt real stupid. We crossed the creek on the tree I suggested, and from then on no one ever doubted my abilities to walk in the woods alone.

One weekend when my mom came over we went hiking. It was hot, so after a while we stopped to rest, I wanted to go explore while my grandma rested. My mom came with. We walked just a little bit into the woods and stopped at this huge funnel. There was a lake at the bottom and moss and young fir trees (christmas trees) surrounding the funnel. We were standing at the top looking down. My mom suddenly felt very scared and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
I said, “Why? It is so pretty.”
My mom said, “Don’t move. Turn around.”
I looked at her incredulously, but did as she asked.

Mom left back to the city the next day and I went back to that place in the woods. I knew exactly where it was, I walked up, down, sideways, but the lake didn’t exist. Not even a dent in the ground.

Next weekend when my mom came over I told her, “That lake, it disappeared.”
I could hardly believe what my mom said, she said, “Good.”

I thought about it later, and I saw many strange things in those woods. I walked for 20 miles through the woods and came out at another train station, and I haven’t found that lake again. I figured it out – it was a doorway to a parallel dimension. My mom didn’t want me to go there because she knew what it was. If I went there, I couldn’t come back. But something lingered, something wanted me there.

Some time later I was resting in the woods. I looked up and saw a man, he was very pale with very dark hair, he just appeared among the trees. I knew that humans were dangerous, so I jumped up and ran. I ran very fast, I didn’t stop until I was among houses and civilization.

I would run away from a person, because a guy in the woods means trouble, just like anywhere. So I couldn’t talk to a humanoid in the woods. The contact I made was not human. I was picking berries around a large stump and suddenly I heard something. I stood up and stared into the face of the biggest viper. (Viper is like a rattle snake, but doesn’t rattle, and it’s black with light diamonds on the back, but bigger and more poisonous). I stood up and was only about 6 inches away from viper’s face. First I was enthralled by the beauty of the snake. Now, this is the weirdest thing ever: I see this big fat snake curled up on a stump, I know it is stupid to move, so I just stand there. This is where it gets really weird: the snake starts talking to me. Telepathically. Somehow I understand, so I talk to it. Snake asks me, “Who are you?”
I reply, “I am a child. I go to school.”
Snake says, “I know what child is. What is School?”
I try to explain, “We have 40 kids in a class. We do math and spelling and…”
The snake is asking lots of questions, and I keep babbling on, explaining.
Then the snake says, “Make one step to the left, I don’t want to hurt you.”
I make a step to the left.
The huge snake unravels itself, jumps and plops on the ground where I was standing. It is truly huge, at least 6 feet long.
I run back to my mom and tell her what happened. Mom and the grandma both seem weird for a minute, like they don’t understand anything. I shake my head and keep walking.

It was understood that I must go in the woods and everyone must leave me alone. I loved that freedom. No one bothered me ever again.” – Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

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