#Resident’s Notes – Maria Esko

2023-03-29

Week 1

AWESTRUCK

The feeling of privilege to be able to witness the grand arrival of spring on the Curonian Spit kicked in fast. After having dropped off my luggage at TVRC and taken a quick first glance at my welcoming new home, I rushed back out, since my gut demanded that I tackle the famous Parnidis dune immediately. I couldn’t get there fast enough because every single sight in off-season Nida looks more picturesque than any postcard known to my eyes. I fast-forwarded past the charming frames, whispering ’I’ll get back to you later’, ran up the stairs at the base of the dune, and kept picking up speed as if I were late for a flight. Even though I had traveled all day, and the path got steeper and steeper, and the Curonian wind was greeting me like an intense and untrained but eagerly loving puppy, and the dune wasn’t really going anywhere (not particularly fast at least).

The first thing that stopped me in my urgency was the sound of a violin.

That’s right. Not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but there were definitely no other humans around. It was an elderly man from my bus from Vilnius to Nida. (I remembered him vividly because on a long bus ride, usually there must be a passenger who exists more intensely than everyone else, and on that particular trip, it happened to be him.) So there he was, playing a song for the dunes, on his violin. That image was the first moment of awe I experienced here, and it definitely set the tone for my first week, as it kept multiplying. Next, I was awestruck by the famous dune; by the ever-changing weather – you can have sun at 1pm and an apocalyptic-looking snowstorm at 1:05 –; by the bay, completely new every single day, impossible to convey via photo (but I can’t stop trying); by the explosively moody Baltic Sea, giving you sass, love, quirk, roars, tears, and winks in a sequence so seamless they feel simultaneous; by the way how locals manage to live in a symbiosis with their tricky environment, light years ahead of some of us who still question the link between oxygen and trees; by the wonderful women working at @Klaipėdos apskrities Ievos Simonaitytės viešoji biblioteka and making it possible for me to experience all this, and feel inspired to do my best at what I do best.

📖on my nightstand: Marguerite Duras, Dix heures et demie du soir en été

♥️: Parnidis dune, stormy Baltic coast, klavb.lt, Nida lighthouse on March 11th

👌taste of the week: @Malkinė Nida

🇱🇹: Aš tave myliu.

🎧: https://youtu.be/tzYbdNwPeCk

 

Week 2

TRUST

Having spent a week on the Curonian Spit in March, you’ll have come to the conclusion that weather announcements are about as trustworthy as the judgment of your growling stomach at the local grocery store that’s about to close down for renovations for 4 days. You’ll know that the very convincing sunshine while you put on your hiking gear absolutely does not mean that you won’t be bracing a hailstorm 15 minutes later. 

Having learned these things, you can either stay in your consistently warm room until April, maybe May, or keep kicking yourself out of the house anyway. The second option might lead to some pretty groundbreaking changes in your recent mindset. You may experience a sudden loss of need to control your environment, since you cannot. All you’ll need is a relatively small leap of faith to see that if sunshine can turn into a storm in 3-2-1, it’s highly likely that the storm can turn back into sunshine before you know it. Sure, the stabby horizontal hail can put on an Oscar-worthy spectacle, but underneath, spring is inevitably kicking in, one bud at a time. Every morning you’ll notice that green has become a little bit greener, the chirping chirpier. 

Next, you might come to the conclusion that any path you pick on your hikes is bound to end up somewhere breathtaking, and closer to home than you had thought. It’s possible that you start to see the patterns of your surroundings reflected in your work. Maybe you struggle with a single sentence for 4 hours one day, but finish your whole quota before noon the next. So you can catch the 12:02 bus to Juodkrantė and check out the Hill of Witches to get your mind shaken, fed, and soothed by the combination of sunlight tinkling through the pines and wickedly elaborate, demonic-looking sculptures. Everything seems to guide your way, just like the bay on your left and the sea on your right hand – you may finally trust your hopeful suspicion that it really is impossible to get lost here.

You might also notice that you no longer have to frantically photograph, to own recordings of every microchange you witness. Trust that your glance is enough. Trust that everything can change and also not go anywhere. Trust that you’ll figure it out.

📖on my nightstand: Miljenko Jergović, Sarajevski Marlboro

♥️: Hill of Witches, morning runs by the bay, woodpeckers, Baltic humor, Nida Greenkeepers

👌taste of the week: @Tik Pas Joną

🇱🇹: Prašau vieną bilietą į Juodkrantė.

🎧: https://youtu.be/iiOSp8jvJW8

 

The “Artist Residencies” project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

 

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