Ivanich lives in an old country house on the very edge of Moscow. Right next-door is the green expanse of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ sanatorium which is the former estate of the Trubetsky* nobles that includes a stone manor and a house church.
The village Uzkoye, which means “narrow,” joined the expanding environs of Moscow in the 1970s like hundreds of other suburban villages. The village almost disappeared amongst the surrounding multi-story construction projects but somewhere hidden among the buildings there are still apple orchards, gardens, and half a dozen two-story houses that were constructed more than a hundred years ago.
Nowadays there is only one family in the whole village that continues to farm. They maintain chickens and goats and supply their neighbors in the area with fresh milk. One shed was converted into a stable where a young man keeps several horses to meet his needs. Ivanich was hired on as a groom to maintain the stables and tend to the horses.
In his youth, Ivanich worked in a recording studio, then as a computer programmer/scientist. Gradually, his profession became less and less demanding until the only suitable work for his was grooming in the stable.
Ivanich, himself a previous employee of the sanatorium, fulfills his responsibilities quietly. He even nailed “Instructions for feeding the horses and *for Safety” to the door. Ivanich is in the stable-shed almost every day cleaning, giving the horses hay and preventing strangers from getting too close to the horses.
Translated by Chase Philpot