We broke out our hiking shoes for the first time since Germany to walk out to a lookout point over Kolomyia we were recommended. We were told to look out for a ruined bridge, destroyed last year by a flood. Near it would be "another way of getting across." We never found the bridge or the crossing, but were content to just continue on the water's edge.
We encountered a person or two here and there: a man cutting down a tree with an ax, another burning brush, someone driving in and out of shallow water with his truck, a woman in the distance pushing a stroller bumpily over the smooth newly washed up stones. But mostly we were alone, hearing nothing but the heightening wind.
Everyone seemed to be doing something to or with the land. We couldn't tell if it was for their benefit or the common good. This man loaded stones into his truck and seemed to be choosey in his selections.
These old men rode away from a small brush fire with a small hacking instrument tied to the front of their bikes. More than once, we held our breath through clouds of smoke and were always happy that it was earth and not garbage that was being burnt.
This person was sifting the water through a piece of cloth, we think looking for crayfish. The idea of it made us hungry and we stopped to eat the little picnic we'd packed. It was beginning to get colder and our salmon spread's expiration date had passed, so we ate some pieces of bread with slices of very sweet apple and clumps of imitation crab meat quickly and decided to start heading back.
We left our hiking shoes under the front of car back home, to let the mud dry. When I looked at all the beautiful pictures Merlin had taken the next day (my mittened hands would have made it hard to focus) I was amazed at how many of them, like the one above, reminded me of the Ukrainian flag.