I saw many farms in the area. I wonder about the people who live there and what they must be like. I wonder what their lives are like. I want to go back and find out.
I listened to the wind play the leaves of the birch trees like a symphony of life. I HAD to go there. I wandered away from the group and went deep enough into the woods that I could not see or hear anyone else.
I just stopped and tried to soak in all the sounds and smells of the forest. An old forest with character and history. I wondered if Kunetsov or Napoleon himself had walked where I now tread. I tried to imagine how a Russian must feel here. Their language and history are full of poets and poetry. In their language they wax eloquently about the land and its connection to the people. I believe that Russians love their homeland more than any other people.
I'm not talking about patriotism, I am talking about love of place. The Rodina, the motherland.
This convent is located on the battleground. It was established soon after the campaign in 1812. It was built to commemorate the battle and was run by nuns who were the widows of officers slain in the war with the French.
It remained as a convent for officer's widows from the various Russian wars until the revolution of 1917. The communist government closed it down. It was reopened after the communist government collapsed in the early 1990's.
When we were on the tour our guide explained that we could tour but could not take pictures inside. He also stated that we would see two distinct age groups of nuns. There are some middle aged ones who are 40 and older and some very young ones. He went further and explained that the middle aged women are widows of the war in Afghanistan and that the young ones are widows of the war in Chechnya. TRUE.
The concierge at the Shearton Hotel set us up with a guide who took us to and from Borodino. He also stopped and took a lot of photos for us.