According to today’s reporting, more than 70,000 thousand refugees have fled Ukraine for Moldova.
I return in memory, shock, and disbelief to my Eastern European “roots trip,” as described in my memoir, What They Saved.
The river Dniester, here, near the town of Soroka, separates Moldova from Ukraine. Armed border guards patrol on either side, and the correct papers must be inspected. This image from my “roots trip” to see the places where my paternal grandparents were born and lived before emigration to the United States in the early 20th century.
As we crossed into Ukraine from Moldova, my guide Natasha told me the story of another roots-seeker whose grandfather had been a ferryman on this river. She was able to bring him to his grandfather’s place of crossing. I was filled with envy that someone of my generation was able to revisit an ancestral place and reenact an ancestral activity. But even so, I reasoned, as Heraclitus has taught us, in our belatedness the river, however real, is never the same river.
[Note: for more on this “roots trip,” view What They Saved website]