The last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, exchanging kisses with soldiers. Although cheek kissing is not as widely practiced in some parts of Europe, it is still commonplace. It is mostly used as a greeting and/or a farewell, but can also be offered as a congratulation or as a general declaration of friendship. Cheek kissing is associated with the middle and upper classes, as they are more influenced by French culture. It’s a tradition in Russia to kiss on alternate cheeks three times, instead of one or two.
Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.
”The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
from Beauty by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro
Winged Victory of Samothrace, 190 BC
Gonzalo Fernandez Antunes
Peter Turnley: Café Lacour, rue St. Paul, Paris, 1976.