Only Connect

By Stephen Ewashkiw | June 20, 2013

Jane and I began our day with a walk in the woods outside Łosie. We wandered on what seemed to be an old logging road that took us up hills, around bends, past ponds filled with tadpoles, and through thick forest. Much of the time the trees brought us sweet relief from the beating sun.

We saw two men coming back from a very successful mushroom-picking session, but apart from that it seemed as if no one had been on the road all year – the only tracks we saw were deer and what was possibly a wild cat.

scary spider web poland


Closer To God

The local Lemko Greek Catholic Church was open for visitors today and has been on our list of places to visit. They have a great collection of religious icons, some dating from the 17th century. My great-grandfather was an icon painter in this area, but icon painters did not sign their work. The icons were created for the glory of God, not the glory of the artist.

painting of jesus and god in poland

Jesus and God, dancing on the ceiling.

As I looked at the icons today I imagined that some of them were painted by him. If not, they were done by someone else’s great-grandfather, so here I am witnessing them for all the great-grandsons who never had this opportunity.

Setting The World To Rights

One of my Los Angeles students is from the area we are staying and her family still has a home here. One day, purely by a coincidence of timing and place, Ania discovered I was heading to Gorlice to search of distant relatives. She offered to connect me with her parents, and so it was arranged for us all to go visit them today.

Ryszard and Malgozata welcomed the four of us, complete strangers, into their home for the afternoon, and we spent the time sharing stories about our lives, finding out about life in Gorlice over the past decades, enjoying delicious sweet cherries from their neighbour’s tree, and getting to know each other.

yoga pose in front of a house in poland

This one’s for you, Ania.

Having lived in New York for 25 years, they both spoke fluent English so we were able to have a real conversation! Such a luxury when you don’t know the local language. We discussed Poland, art, mathematics, religion, politics, yoga, and every subject in between.

Thanks to Ryszard and Malgozata (and Ania!) for being such generous hosts and giving us such a rich experience. I am always a bit nervous when someone sets us up with friends/parents/relatives to visit, but so far on this trip we have been exceptionally fortunate. I guess this is what comes from having exceptional friends.

Thank you all.  

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