How's the Weather?

Discussing the weather stereotypically indicates conversational awkwardness.  These past couple of years, however, have yielded weather which has defied typical molds--whether you're in the Midwest or the deep South.  And, *spoiler alert*, I am going to breach that very topic.

When I first arrived in Ostrava, students, colleagues, and any other Czechs I encountered spoke of Ostrava's history in mining and industry and the lingering pollution thereof.  Many pointed to the winter as prime season for terrible breathing conditions and persistent smog.  Yet summer continued patiently on--a true babí léto (Indian summer)--causing the daily choice of what to wear as complicated as if I were going on a first date.  Slowly, but surely, autumn came, but I am still not sure whether winter has come.  October got a bit chilly, forcing me to buy a proper coat, but the bitter winds subsided into a leafless and snowless "winter."  

My Christmas spirit, however, is a formidable force, and a lack of snow couldn't combat with the Christmas story, Christmas carols, and Christmas markets.  I held on to my cheer fiercely, and perhaps my determination and prayers were part of the determining factor which finally yielded a real, sticking snowfall on the 21st of December.  My excitement and delight grew with the first few flakes which fell with the intensity of a determined kindergartener, and I hurrahed the vulnerable flakes.

After my morning at the conservatory, I traveled to the gymnázium, and relished the now boisterous, falsley confident, pre-teen flakes which did what pre-teens do best--they traded their spindly forms for more filled-out figures and clustered together in their insecurity.  I welcomed the dampness forming on my coat from their coalition, and kissed the snowflakes which found their way onto my smiling lips.

The flakes continued as I reached the school and I waited for the Christmas party.  The magic of the first snow took its effect, and in coalition with the morning Christmas concert assembly, it cheered my colleagues.  Walking to the afternoon concert performance, I slid on the snow like a child, spun around --arms outstretched--and let loose some of my boisterous American self which had been constricted in the midst of a reserved, distrustful, snowless society.  By the time the concert had ended, and I saw that those pre-teen flakes had matured to teenagers, nonchalantly falling, my gladness was uncontainable.  As I trudged through the snow, carrying a bench (which had served as a riser) from the concert hall to the school, I gloried in the snow and the hope of a white Christmas.

On the return, I enjoyed a spontaneous snowball fight with Martin, Jana M.'s husband.  My joy in the snow hadn't yet been quenched, and I continued to relish my lilting spirit as I trailed after Jana and her dog through a snow-filled park, my heart praising God and my camera forgiving the snowflakes that embraced its lens.

There may not be any more snow this winter, but this one, pure, lovely, virgin snow has given me enough joy (and photos) to last till the spring buds.

Even Socialist Realist sculptures look more cheery with a snowfall!

Trailing behind Jana, and lovin' on the snow.


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