Saturday, February 21, 2009
Winter in Another Place
Like just about every other gardener in the northern hemisphere I am officially tired of winter. Every year in October, I bring in my tropicals and disperse them around the house in somewhat-suitable places, lecturing them as I go about how lucky they are not to be left outside. I settle in for the winter, the first part of which goes quickly with the holiday planning and festivities, and enjoy the snugness of the house, the warmth of the fire, and the cosiness of snuggling under a floofy eiderdown. January brings the catalogues, and I greedily pile them by my chair, spending whole days engrossed in my selections. There's winter cooking too -- lamb shanks and lentils, thick soups with cornbread or pumpernickel, beef stews or hearty casseroles, and oranges and cabbages and sweet potatoes and tangerines smelling of exotic lands and spices from the Orient whose scents seem more sharp and pungent in the chilled air.
Now in February I am anxiously patrolling the garden, hunting for small signs that life will return, that we are not yet condemned to eternal winter, that the sun will warm us again, the hummingbirds will return, and there will be greenness and flowers. I am reminded of another winter a long time ago when we lived in Moscow. It was a very hard winter that year in Europe--not unlike this one, actually -- and Moscow suffered along with everyone else. There were huge snowbanks everywhere, enormous icicles hung down outside my seventh floor windows, great winds scoured the streets clean of snow at night, leaving it drifted against the buildings and blocking the entrances with 6 foot drifts. There were no signs of greenness anywhere and although the city was beautiful in the snow, it was a stark beauty. I was enchanted though by the magic of the Russian winter, I had my sister-in-law's old fur coat (she had moved to California) and a good pair of boots, and I wandered the city taking it all in.
A few photographs from that winter -- I wish there were more but many of my slides have disappeared themselves without my knowledge. One is of the little lake at the convent of Novodevichy, with the little house for the waterfowl which lived there; another is an old wooden house in a back street in Moscow, and the third is an old (and unidentified) church, again in Moscow. The third was taken on a day when we went for a troika ride in Izmailovsky Park and met small Natasha, dressed for the cold, the next is a wooden church on a windswept plain outside Moscow -- Kharkov area, I think, and the last is more pleasant -- a little pond in a little village in the outskirts of Moscow.
PS -- I see that Blogspot has decided where to place my photos. Oh well.
Posted by Pat at 12:32 PM