A small town in Kaluga Region scattered along the Oka River, Tarusa has long been loved by the creative folk. The Tsvetaev family used to live here, including Marina Tsvetaeva; their house museum is open to the public nowadays. Konstantin Paustovsky, one of the principal Russian authors who had been considered for the Nobel Prize but “lost” to Mikhail Sholokhov, resided here and was buried at the local cemetery. Viktor Borisov-Musatov, an outstanding Russian painter, died and was also buried in Tarusa. Marina Tsvetaeva, as a matter of fact, also wanted to be laid to rest here, and to complete her wish, someone local had set a stone on the spot she had once chosen for her grave. Nikolai Zabolotsky, a wonderful Russian poet, spend the last two years on his life in Tarusa, the house where he lived still standing, although looking half-forgotten.
Across the Oka is the famous Polenovo, an estate named after the painter Vassily Polenov. Tarusa thus overlooks Tula Region which is ever easily accessible in winter: now that Oka sleeps under the shield of ice and snow, people cross it on snow-mobiles, skies, and on foot.
I discovered Tarusa and first visited it in August 2012. I made a few wonderful friends here, artists, writers, sculptors, and the place’s fresh air never ceases to inspire. The sonnet you read recently was composed on the first night of my recent stay in Tarusa.