Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lessons From the Baba Yaga II

{ I'm not particularly, completely pleased with how this blip has turned out. But that's what I get for writing at 2 o'clock in the morning and being too lazy to edit a second time. Ah well. You'll forgive me...because you love me. ...Or not. }

The air was a gold, glittery, haze. It was always like that in the summertime. The heat was beginning to have its affect on our sanity. Work was done in the early morning and in the evening when the weather was better. Afternoons were almost unbearable. The thick humidity drove us inside where the cool of the wood and stone floors under bare feet would make our skin prickle. What little work we did in the afternoon hours, when the sun was at its height, was done in the moist coolness of the underground cellar.

The cellar was where Yaga, the old woman, would send me to organize her canned goods. Tall glass jars of different foods and herbs lined the shelves of a small room that was only accessible by a small, wooden door held down by a metal latch. Only one person could stand in the room, any more and the slightest movement would be impossible, and no work would get done. 

The thing Yaga hated most: idleness. If possible, no minute in time was spent without something of importance to do. And since it seemed that I was not yet trusted to be alone, Yaga stood at the entrance to the store room and barked orders to me on how she preferred her jars to be arranged. Judging by the amount of dust and cobwebs, it was obvious how long it had been since anyone had done anything of the sort. 

While Yaga was feisty and moved quite fast on her feet for a woman of her age, her knees were not as kind to her as she would have liked them to be. The stairs down to the cellar were narrow and tricky. She had said that the last time she had gone down there that the stairs themselves threw her off in an effort to teach her a lesson. She listened. "The stairs will be kinder to younger legs", she said.

I navigated down the steps with ease, and indeed it seemed that the stairs were more kind to my gangly, knob kneed legs. It was almost as if they became more sturdy and widened as soon as the pressure of my foot touched onto them. Once I reached the bottom, my eyes adjusted to the dimness and I was able to take a look around. It wasn't long until Yaga started to bark orders and I began to sort.

Lavender, Mint, Lemongrass. Herbs were to be on the right side of the room. Categorized by type and use, older jars were to be put in the front while the more newly jarred were to be set further in the back in order to age to maturity. I wondered if that was Yaga's intent for me- to be set aside in order to age properly.

Corn, squash, and peppers. Food on the left side. She didn't much care how these were to be shelved. They just had to be put together, again with the older in the front. Newer in the back. "Age before beauty!" seemed to be her favorite motto. Especially when it came to who went thru the door first, and, apparently, organizing canned goods.


  1. What a creative take on Baba Yaga! I love it.

  2. Can Yaga come to my house and fix my basement stairs?

  3. Did you know my childhood home and my parents food storage area? Does that mean I'm the child of Baba Yaga?!?!?! Aieeeee!