Ash Heap of History:
June 9, 1982

Shortly after two o’clock in the morning, in night’s easy dusk, unable to sleep because of too many difficult thoughts in my head, wearing an old quilted jacket against the thin chill in the air, I was seated on a rickety wooden bench on the narrow patch of lakeshore at our family’s summer house in K—a village in the formerly Finnish territory of Karelia, some one hundred kilometers due northwest of Leningrad—with my VEF-Spidola portable radio in my lap and a neighbor’s large, piebald, lame-legged mutt named Garrincha lying on the grass a couple of meters away, gnawing on a soup bone I’d brought out of the house for him, as circumspectly as possible, so as not to awaken Grandmother. The dog was growling a bit from an excess of pleasure, his eyes closed. “You’re overdoing it,” I told him quietly, half whispering, because the night was very still and sounds carried far in it, traveling instantaneously across the placid water.

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