Siberia-A Death Bed of Beauty
Robert Popovich (see photos) translation support for independent oil and gas research ventures in Siberia. The temperatures range from -35 to -90 degrees below zero. What follows is an excerpt from his diaries.
Siberian Winter’s Song
Poet: Robert Popovich December 23, 2011
We came to Siberia in search of man’s precious oil,
then discovered its people, and horses--far more noble.
We were often warned of this land’s disarming beauty,
Like a spider lying in wait, creating a sense of false security.
Siberian Winter’s Song--singing in the breeze.
An average wintery day, blizzards at a minus 70 degrees,
Not fit for man, nor beast--not even the indigenous species.
We were taught by local herders, the secret to survive,
“The Siberian horse--a lineage of strength and pride.”
Siberian Winter’s Song-- whistling through the trees.
Our team consisted of renowned Swedish geologists,
Except for me, a ghostwriter and designated chronologist.
They spent endless hours searching for oil in the fields,
While I recorded their findings and potential yields.
Siberian Winter’s Song--science meeting its needs.
There are countless dangers is this land of snow and ice,
Not least of which, the effects of Siberian white nights.
We mounted our steeds, with full packs and heavy supplies,
Feeling the confidence they bring as our stable underside.
Siberian Winter’s Song--trusting this noble breed.
The endless mountain ranges and fields of blinding snow,
Almost erasing the thought of ever seeing my own shadow.
Twenty-four hours of sunlight, is so difficult to explain,
But once it is experienced--it will forever be engrained.
Siberian Winter’s Song--hearing our prayerful creed.
Two team geologists were the senior decision-makers,
And voted against native Yakutians lead the expedition.
One dissenting voice demanded a vote be openly declared,
Their decision overturned--so our lives were spared.
Siberian Winter’s Song--democracy sets us free.
Time stood still, like the frozen lakes, rivers and streams,
As we prayed for an early thaw, to bring a welcome reprieve.
Our mission accomplished, surveys and reports all in hand,
Knowing in time, we would return to this God forsaken land.
Siberian Winter’s Song--finding good reason to concede.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from such an adventure,
Is that in the end, hoping for the best, is all that matters.
For in the broader scope of life’s dreams and schemes,
It is the Siberians and their horses, that ensure we succeed.
Siberian Winter’s Song--little else to be done, but leave.