Sunday, November 28, 2010

Season Change and First Snow

I'm used to the season slowly fading into each other.  The four seasons are each distinct, but they shift rather gradually.  Here, they shift immediately.  In September, I woke up one day and the air temperature had dropped fifteen degrees and the trees were shedding yellow leaves.  Then, these past few weeks there was an abrupt change from 55-60º days to days in and below freezing.  Last night was the first real snowfall.  Wednesday night, it snowed a little, bit it only stuck around on people's cars.  It's like someone flipped a switch; the changes were so sudden and swift.  There was no melding of the seasons, just one morning it was summer and the next it was fall.

The final harvest of the year.

After many weeks (months really) of procrastination, I finally cleaned up on the balcony.  My glorious jungle, my main achievement of the year, my proudest monument, had wilted and died.  I was harped on constantly because I didn't want to clear away the scraggly tomato vines the covered the place.  I finally buckled down and cut out the vines, clearing away what fruit still clung to them.  The tomatoes are placed in the kitchen, and probably will be made into a sauce (most likely for gnocchi.)

But the snow is here (about an inch or two) and I can say I am pleased.  I hope it sticks around for Christmas, because I do love a white Christmas.  I, and many other Varsovians, went for a Sunday afternoon walk in the woods.  The trails had mostly turned to mud, but if you walked on the virgin snow it gave that satisfying scrunch.

People trudging across the fields in Kabaty.

For the season, I thought I would share a nice little tune called Shchedryk, better known (in Anglo Countries) as Carol of the Bells.  It's actually a Ukrainian New Years Carol that was given new lyrics (the original lyrics are about a sparrow flying in and wishing the master of the household a lucky year.)  Eastern Slavs don't really celebrate Christmas at the same time as the Western (due to a different liturgical calendar).  But Christmas isn't the main holiday of the season, New Years is.  It's as if the roles were switched: Russians and company are visited by some Santa (Father Snow or whatever) on New Years; they get presents then and the main celebration takes place of Christmas, which is a scaled down affair.  It's not just that they have Christmas in January, it's also that the Soviets tried to stamp out religious holidays and promote more secular ones instead.  Regardless, below is a very nice carol.


Anonymous said...

17 Americans dies in the Kabaty forest.

Anonymous said...


Dr. Steve said...

First snow is always a magical time for me. i home it's the same for you, as you would be upset to see the sparkle of a shimmering sea of frozen in the moonlight. This would do nothing but inspire me.