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     пускай с моею мордою
   печатных книжек нет,
  вот эта подпись гордая
есть мой автопортрет

Stepanakert
                   Saga

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February 24.

Yesterday's water-walk turned into something weird and uncanny.

In all the streets and lanes along my water-trail there disappeared even those scanty windows lit with the ghostly shimmer of gas jet torches. The thickest fog imaginable and solid unbroken darkness turned the way just invisible. I—with my eyes full open but seeing nothing—instinctively navigated amidst the familiar ruts, puddles and holes in the road and was gradually loosing touch with the reality and at some moment trespassed the borderline of an anti-Utopian dream where I plodded on along an endless way from nowhere-to-nowhere pulling at a juggernaut growlingly rolling after me. My "I" grew smaller and smaller in its dimensions and functions engulfed by this all-embracing darkness, and that diminished "i" was only feeling mechanical efforts of my body engaged in that plodding and hauling. I was taken out of myself, and it was strangely pleasant too. All thoughts and desires dried up. I didn't even want that endless road to be over or that going-pulling to be ended.
It was like dissolution in silence,
solitude,
freedom.

After breakfast the mother-in-law sent me to Carina with two breads she had baked the day before yesterday and with the oral message that she and her house were all right with only window panes broken up.

The winter is still here. It snowed all night, and in the morning people were gathering the newly fallen snow from the streets into washing-tubs and pails to melt it and dodge their daily water-walks.

The raw smell of pine tar from the hacked off branches hung all along the Kirov Street.

Passing along the staved in glass walls in the halls of the saving bank branch office and the nearby drug store, I noticed and pitied their interior pot-plants—the poor frost-bitten ficuses with their fleshy leaves turned brown, withered and warped.

Carina sent her old spare glasses for my mother-in-law who had lost hers.

At the Club two more women from the staff made flying visits to take home their belongings.

At five-minutes-to-twelve, Lenic dropped in on his way to the uphill town with the drawing of the coat of arms he had designed for the competition in progress.

His design depicted a gloomy eagle with the sword and shield (the KGB motif?) and mountains in the background encircled by filleted wheat and grapes.

<!-- A real thing to be tattooed on any mobster's shoulder.-->

The picture was accomplished in an astoundingly meticulous and fine technique.

Nay, smoking is not so healthy a preoccupation as Lenic once happened to advertise it.

Two-weeks ago, half a dozen men were killed when a missile exploded in a line of smokers queuing after raw tobacco leaves.

On finishing lunch I went uphill to help Aram in screening the windows in my mother-in-law's and his dwelling.

He explained to me the trick by which the local detachment of the Soviet Army profits in the current war.

They are milking both sides: Armenians pay the regiment artillery to silence Azeri artillery while Azeries pay the regiment artillery to miss the targets.

Aram glowed with indignation while exposing the unsavory cheat.

To change the subject too irritating for my brother-in-law, I mentioned those poor plants—defenseless ficuses in the open.

'Man,' said he wryly, 'why to worry about them ficuses? They ain't laying no eggs neither for you nor anybody else.'

The indisputable truth of his words left me dumbfounded.

We finished the repair-work, and I withdrew.

One page from Joyce translated.

During my yoga there was a GRAD hail, not too close though.

Supper.

The juggernaut's wheels are too small for such deep snow.

Today, I'll just walk after water with a pair of pails to the "Suicide's Spring".

Just a thought: When you are not too delighted with some of your human fellow-beings, it does not necessarily mean you are a total misanthrope.

I definitely like the drawing painted by Aram's daughter, Hasmic, and the way Ahshaut is handling his rubber ball.

In a word -
Good night.

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