a town called Dinosaur - which, I'm assured, boasts street names like Brontosaurus Boulevard, Stegosaurus Freeway, and Triceratops Terrace.
However, after settling down in Estes Park, I experienced a suspicious feeling of deja vu - and an unfamiliar longing to lumber after local lepidoptera. When I looked at the landscape, I wanted to say things like, 'In the distance, fleeting cloud shadows dappled the dull green of slopes above timber line, and the gray and white of Longs Peak'; and I had the oddest idea that I could fly on a magic carpet to the marshland around Vyra, near St Petersburg.
|Longs Peak - 14259 ft|
In my next international adventure, I'll be pursuing not Nabokovian butterflies but Tolstoyan birches - all the way to Yasnaya Polyana. The Tolstoy bus leaves Moscow on Saturday morning this week. So far I have learned that the bus is blue and that the driver's name is Vanya. What more could any dedicated Russophile wish to know? As that great Tolstoyan, Jim Morrison, crooned,
The blue bus is callin' us...
C'mon baby take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus...
which is almost certainly a free adaptation of Lev Nikolaevich's proposal to Sofia Andreevna Behrs in 1862, and practically identical with the small print at the bottom of my conference timetable.
This post is heavily indebted to Brian Boyd's Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years (Vintage: London, 1991), esp. pp. 120-1. The Longs Peak citation and magic carpet reference in paragraph 2 are from Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory (London: Penguin, 2000), p. 109.