Ivan Bilibin was a Russian illustrator, especially of folk tales, whose work is beautiful. Russian folk tales can be pretty odd. This must have been one of them. When you work out what’s going on, write me a story, please.
If I could see with the eyes of the dead, I would not waste my youth in fear or lust. I would not cry in the dark but treasure the sharp edge of loneliness. I would cast off the faith which castigated me for living. I would see what matters instead of relying on magic wishes and futile comparisons. But there were donuts, doe-eyed men and other distractions.
The house of my childhood is now fenced with bones. I cannot enter without their owner’s permission. When they give it, I choose the eyes of the most misunderstood and venture into the woods. They see without pain now and offer me not the rewards of love, peace or prosperity but that of humor.
The picture is from a Russian folktale in which a girl, whose mother has died, escapes the home of Baba Yaga thanks to a blessing from her dead mother, something with which I can identify.