Friday, June 12, 2009

NEW Friday Fantasy: Kamchatka Assignment - Part 11

We had reached the native town, such as it was. There were a few yurts here and there and some native men and women who eyed us with curiosity. Dogs yipped and children played with garbage and in the mud. Yuri went right to a supplies tent and began shopping for our needs.


Mr. Butterfly, Volchuk and I headed straight for the native made souvenirs tables to see what was available. There were furs, including fox, mink, bear, rabbit and lynx that I could identify, fashioned into mittens, hats, scarves and such. One bearskin was made into a blanket or rug. There were also deerskin boots. While very plush and attractive, what kind of environmental statement would it be for me to purchase fox, lynx or bear furs here in Russia and then bring them home? Not a very convincing one, however tempting they might be.

They were gorgeous though!

Then there were small replicas of Shamanic drums like the ones we had seen used in ritual healings. Also there were tons of religious icons carved in wood and what looked like animal bone. I collect these and was busily having Volchuk use his language skills to translate what each icon represented and what fortunes it would bring if prayed to. Kuthkh, a Raven spirit, was a common one among the Itelmen of Kamchatka. I pondered these and was considering purchase of one while I surveyed the other goods to be had.

There was native beading, and extremely professional carvings of native animals such as bears, walrus, whales and a mastodon!

We were all puzzling over this when we noticed a totally naked Yuri stumble out of the Shaman woman’s yurt looking quite disoriented.


He was speaking out loud to no one in particular and heading right for the stream, which was the native town’s source of water. We all looked at each other and shrugged. None of us knew what was going on. But we all rushed towards Yuri.

We could hear him talking.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep

were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

By the time he had finished, he was in the stream up to his thighs and the startled native women were chuckling, though none moved to stop him. Volchuk rushed into the water after him and screamed his name “Yuri! Yuri! Yuri!” There was no response. So he slapped him hard across the face. By that time, Mr. Butterfly was also in the water with them. All of us noticed that Yuri had a huge erection. Yuri had grabbed Volchuk’s wrist to keep him from hitting him again and blithely said “Oh, Volchuk, Mr. Butterfly! Would you like me to show you the DP again? Oh, and Dr. Fairview, come join us! We were so rude to exclude you last time. I am sure we can make into some butterfly thing just for you!”

Then, his eyes rolled up into his head and he went into convulsions. The two men hastily dragged him back onto shore but he continued to jerk around spasmodically. I felt his head and he was burning up, so I ran to the stream with a cloth and soaked it in the icy water and put it on his head. After a short time, he stopped convulsing. Volchuk ran to the Shaman lady’s tent to ask her just what Yuri had taken. She followed him out right away.

The Shaman Lady

It turns out that he could not resist trying the woman’s urine after she had eaten Amanita muscaria, the local red capped hallucinogenic mushroom. She was not worried, because he was simply on a spirit journey and would return as all spiritual pilgrims did. All attempts to find out how much he took were useless since she had no idea how much she ate, nor did she pay careful attention to how much of her urine he drank. Yuri was in a coma and not particularly responsive to any stimuli and we tried even some painful ones. Frankly, we had no idea if he would ever come out of it. The Shaman woman indicated that all locals who took spirit journeys were like that for a day or so afterwards. She seemed completely unconcerned about Yuri’s condition and walked away back towards her yurt.

We had to put our heads together and decide what to do. We decided that Yuri had to stay here in the native village. The locals would gladly provide a yurt and Volchuk and I would stay with him. Mr. Butterfly would take the supplies Yuri purchased back to camp and tell them what happened. Volchuk was chosen to stay because he could communicate with the locals and I was chosen to keep watch over Yuri because my scant medical knowledge was so much better than what was available for hundreds of miles in any direction, not counting local cultural remedies, of course.

Some local village men helped us carry Yuri to his yurt and we covered him with some furs. Mr. Butterfly packed up the new supplies on a wheeled cart and headed back for camp. Volchuk and I looked at each other with resigned sighs. Well, I sure was going to have plenty of time to choose those icons now!


OMG! Now there is trouble in both our Kamchatka groups! What will happen next to resolve these issues?

Poem by William Butler Yeats

1 comment:

Stan said...

Poor Yuri. Those shroons must be powerful. I love how native people use animals for their deities and religious icons and what each one represents.