Thirteenth installment from the diary of my great-grandfatherâ€™s sister Alise, written during the First World War. When the diary starts, she is living just a few miles from the front lines of the Eastern Front, and is then forced to flee with her husband and two young daughters to her familyâ€™s house near LimbaÅ¾i as the war moves even closer. For the background, see here.
January 6, 1916
We had a party at KroÅ†i, full of good things and happiness. I think of years past, when we celebrated Papa’s birthday at our own house. He is not here – he left to find a new home for us, he won’t get any birthday kisses from his dears. Where is our life now – I long for our Daugava, and want to get back there… Soon the snow will melt, the ice will go – the world will be filled by the beautiful words of songs – the Daugava groans and waves roar, the Staburags [NB:a tall cliff found on one of the banks of the Daugava, makes appearances in various folktales, unfortunately vanished in 1965 when the area was flooded for a hydroelectric power station that was built on the Daugava] cries tears, the oaks on the riverbanks hiss, where the gods and ancient fathers scream… where at different times we rode around in a boat, where then we listened to the songs of the nightingales, we were full of joy about life and the future: now there, by the banks of the Daugava, the mood is somber, people fight and fall, guarding the fatherland. Eventually will there be that word – peace?