Oh, heaven, it must be sand. Chapter 9

OH, HEAVEN, IT MUST BE SAND

          One must take into account the fact that the Ukrainian people had to endure much sorrow during the course of their history: the revolution of 1917 which brought a civil war, the collectivization, the man-made famine of 1932-33, the repressions, the World War 2, famine, the communist regime - and this is only an insignificant part of the troubles in the context of the whole history of the development of our people. We are still struggling for independence, preservation of the Ukrainian language and culture, our anthem reflects that we are still on the path to becoming a nation.
 
We do not have a common clear vision of the goal and the means to implement it. Meanwhile other European nations have long passed the period of their national formation, our country still lives with the ideas of the 19th century. Today's challenges dictate other realities. Developed countries conquer new markets improving the quality of their products. They aggressively wage a new, commercial war, in which, unfortunately, we are still losing.
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Many people believe mistakenly that the reason for our drawbacks is alcohol, drugs, laziness, but they forget one simple thing - there are no causeless reasons. If you prohibit the sale of alcohol and do not change the conditions of life, then the effect of stress, received by the human psyche from the cruel modern conditions of life, will be directed inwards and begin to destroy the body. Then the question arises: what is more harmful for a person: stress or alcohol? Logical dilemma suggests that the lesser of the two evils is always preferred. Stress leads to heart diseases; it destroys immunity and opens a way for the development of cancerous tumors. Excessive abuse of alcohol has no lesser consequences.

Many people know how to balance between two fires. In appearance, it may seem that they are strong-willed and easily cope with difficulties. No, they simply do not have a large level of pressure of the social conditions, since they are adapted to them. If they have many problems and do not relieve tension with antidepressants, drugs, alcohol or religion, they direct the destructive forces of the psyche to self-destruction of the body. The problem of drug and alcohol dependence has a common cause - social pressure, which pushes a person into a blind alley with the help of its cruelty. If society lacks moral ideals and focuses only on material well-being, then it turns out that it is very difficult for a person to achieve honourable success in an external cruel world where everything is subjected to money.
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The moral realization is internal; it depends on the effort that a person directs toward himself and to each individual it gives an opportunity to manifest himself in society, to show his usefulness and significance, provided that society evaluates such actions by giving them an incentive. Therefore, the focus should be on morals, not money. A child who grew up "freely", who has not been accustomed to moral debt since childhood, evades from school and family responsibilities and escapes social pressure leading a carefree life. But when he grows up, he enters into an adult reality, where social conditions make themselves felt. He has to restrain himself exerting efforts on the psyche. And from time to time or constantly, he removes the accumulated heaviness from the soul. Therefore, to effectively combat alcohol problems, they need to change the conditions of life: rooting out the cause and not fighting insensibly with the consequences.

          Love can change people for the better. It inspires, gives energy for noble deeds, and provides meaning to impoverished existence. This happened in the case of Cardan as well. One day he went to the young widow to offer some services and, having grown fond of her, helped her for free. In his chest something gasped and began to breathe deeply and enticingly. His lungs did not keep up with the rhythm of the inner strength, and he sobbed from the lack of air. Cardan's brain no longer worked as before, it seemed like something had clouded it. He began to do things he had never done before: he helped the widow free of charge. In the long run such noble actions of Cardan produced sympathy in the widow; a strong man's hand was felt which led to a mutual agreement to live together. Cardan significantly reduced his consumption of alcohol. Family concerns dragged him into their whirlpool up to the neck. He no longer drank alcohol the way he had used to.
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But emotions, excited by love, gradually began to fade away. Family problems came to the fore. The lack of money led to quarrels, which day after day only increased the approach of a rolling avalanche from the mountains. Little by little Cardan began to resume his adventurous pranks. In order not to spoil the reputation of a family man in his native village, he moved "to fish" in the neighboring one.
 
         Colorado beetles were poisoned on the collective farm field planted with potatoes. Along the road he saw a heap of garbage thrown out by some irresponsible villager. He managed to find one liter glass jar. A hundred meters from the road was a stream. Cardan went to it; carefully washed the jar and filled it with water taken on the field from a puddle. Water stagnated in the sun after a long-lasting rain and changed its crystal-clear colour to yellowish-muddy. He lifted the jar against the sun to examine its contents more closely. “Something wrong”, he thought. Taking a handful of sand from the ground, he put it in the jar and shook it in a circle. The sand whirled lifting a column of a whirlwind in the muddy water. "This is it", he whispered to himself and went toward the nearest house.
           It was evident at the first sight a deplorable state of a vegetable garden planted with potatoes, which adjoined the house. Colorado beetles, not knowing the measure, ate plant tops threatening to leave the owners without harvest. The vegetable garden belonged to a lonely old woman who stood in the yard; she watched her land attentively with her eyes protected from the dazzling sun by her hand. Cardan realized that the option was a win-win.
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 He went into the yard carrying the jar in front of him demonstratively with the concoction of his own making. He walked quickly panting with haste; his wide-open and worried eyes gave him the appearance of a gypsy leading away a stolen horse.
“Do you need poison for the beetles?” asked Cardan breathlessly. “Look, the tractor is spraying potatoes on the field? I came to you from there. We have a little left over. If you need it, I can swap it on alcohol.”
“And, how much do you want for it?”
“A jar on a jar.”
The old woman took Cardan's concoction, raised the jar against the sun and asked incredulously, “And, who are you?”
“I'm a young agronomist from a neighboring village,” Cardan said impressively.
“Isn`t it sand at the bottom of the jar?”
The old woman shook the contents time and again.
“Crystallization. The poison is fresh, so it is in the state of granules. You'll take a stick, stir them with it, and the granules will dissolve,” Cardan explained the process to her.

         Finally, barter took place. Cardan, satisfied with the deal, rushed off, and the old woman began to prepare the poison for beetles stirring intensively the "granules". Five minutes - no effect. Ten minutes - the number of the "granules" did not decrease. She lifted the jar and directed it against the sun. "Oh, heaven, it must be sand," she muttered and continued to stir the “granules” again. Half an hour of laborious effort did not yield any results. "Oh, goodness, I swear, it must be sand," the frustrated old woman said her guess aloud.

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 “Let it stand until morning; perhaps the granules will dissolve by themselves.”
 She put the jar aside. Next day the old woman repeated the procedure once more – no results. With anger, she poured the contents of the jar on a wooden board, felt the “granules” with her fingers on touch, sniffed them - no smell. "Oh, heaven, it is definitely bloody sand. Oh, that scoundrel!" she forced out bitter words desperately for the last time.
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