Late last night I wandered down to the Gypsy Camp to see my old friend Zaryana. As I approached the camp I heard the simple beat of a drum, possibly a tabor. Ticka ticka, tic tic tic. I edged nearer. The roaring fire blocked my vision at first. Then off to the side I saw a few dancers, long skirts waving to the drumbeat. I looked for my old gypsy friend and saw her at the edge of the group, ready to join in the dance. Easing onto a log next to a young girl, I sat and watched.
Ticka ticka tic tic tic. The drums were joined by zils flirting with the beat. Dancers now whirled onto the makeshift stage, their skirts and scarves whirling together as watercolors flowing onto a painting. The drums quickened as the dancers moved. Zaguareets, high pitched trills, honored the dancers as the audience showed their approval. What joy!
As the dance was ending, my friend saw me and motioned for me to stay. It seemed she had something to tell me. A few minutes later she rushed over to me. “Come with me my friend,” she whispered, still out of breath from the dance. “I have something to show you!”
We hastened off to her wagon. As I entered the scent of sandalwood and myrrh greeted my nose. Candles everywhere, shadows flickering off each other. No other lights. It was warm inside even though I had been cold outside and I looked around to find the source of the heat. Before I could find it, my attention was brought back to my friend as she handed me a parcel.
“I found this the other day,” Zaryana told me. “I thought you might like to read it.”
I opened the brown paper wrapping and found Zaryana’s very own journal from years past. My heart leapt with excitement as I turned the pages. Drawings, collages, poems, all written in her exotic handwriting. A running narrative wove through the pages explaining and detailing her many adventures over the years. I was in visual heaven!
I must have been so caught up in the book I had not noticed she had made tea and poured me a cup. She laughed as she thrust one of her delicious Russian tea cakes under my nose. “A little treat to warm the night?” she asked.
We sat and enjoyed the Russian Caravan tea and cakes. She told me I could keep the journal for as long as I wanted and urged me to share some of it with my new friends at Riversleigh Manor. I promised her I would guard this treasure with my life and hurried back to my room to read.