Where does the name baragan find its origin?
-Nederlandse versie hier
I encountered the name Baragan when a good friend of mine showed me the autobiography of a Dutch writer/traveller/wanderer A. den Doolaard. Below the first page of that book, with a title that could be translated as ‘Life of a wanderer’.
According to the register office I was born on February 7, 1901, but really I was born on September 27, 1928, the day I followed a little thistledown to a horizon, which I still have not reached.
It was an autumn evening, I was sitting beside my small fireplace, where I burnt peat, wood, coal and waste all mixed together, when I became absorbed in a novel by a writer who was new to me: the Romanian Panait Istrati. The book was called The thistles of Baragan.
Baragan is a steppe in southern Romania, where shepherds roam with their herds. Istrati describes how with the arrival of autumn, the thistledown begins to blow across the great plain, bounded by low mountains. Then the shepherds are gripped by what the Romanians call dor, an intolerable desire, worldly and heavenly at the same time; a nostalgia that is at once sensual and metaphysical; a hot desire to the unknown distance behind the hills, where the thistledown can roam, but man can not because he is held by his flock, his wife, his cattle; a yearning to be yanked from the known; to hook on to impossible love and unreachable horizons; a unquenchable thirst for the absolute, for perfection.
Translated from Dutch, Het leven van een landloper, A. Den Doolaard, 1958