the first snowfall. No pretty, romanticized, Norman Rockwell conceptualization of it, but instead the much more visceral sense of taste. Possibly some authority figure once told you to avoid the first snow, but that didn't stop you then and doesn't stop you now. Once on the ground it can be: freezing no-taste shifting slowly from solid to liquid upon your tongue; clean and almost metallic, half-melted sky-distiled water that it is, purer than what Coca-Cola puts in clear plastic bottles; gritty flavor of old snow, its whiteness disguising dust particles and traces of exhaust. While still in the air it is: a single flake so light and tiny you can't be sure you even caught it; a heavy cluster that lasts long enough to be pressed against the roof of your mouth before it disappears.

silence. At 2 am it has been night for seven hours and all of the residual heat (and with it the wind) has been leached away into the dark. No animals move in the shadow either, predators gone South for better hunting and prey hibernating for the duration. Cars as well off the road, surfaces too slick to brave the ride home. You can stand i n v i s i b l e under a streetlight and listen to your own breath, your own heartbeat, your own shoes creaking against the snow. There is nothing else.

sledding. Anything flat will do, plastic sheeting, cardboard, even a dumpster-raided mattress one year. Wearing good clothes is right out too, a fact discovered after entirely wearing out the toes of a perfectly good pair of Adidas. Eventually you get to the top of the hill, which looks like a lunar landscape in front of you. Even holding the sled stationary on the ground is hard, let alone getting on it without instantly starting a descent. Once the sled is going you are lightning in the air, you are a proof of relativity, you are in a motorcycle race one but without the motor, without the cycle. Zero to sixty and all the way back in less than thirty seconds.

bitter, bitter cold. Sometimes so cold it just feels numb, senses vaguely reminded that you could never survive this climate without your culture's technology. First, an outer layer of steel and glass molded and shaped together as a car, fully shielding your body from the raw elements. Then a layer of air pumped and warmed from the outside by the anemic built-in heater, blowing loudly and accomplishing little. Finally layers of cloth, some as simple as cotton, others complex as polymers with forty-five letter names. Even with all of this, smiling at a passing friend reminds you of how cold it is, facial muscles moving faster than your half-solidified skin can keep up.

subtle seasonal affect. One of those ideas you swore you would never succumb to, pop psychology bullshit only faintly more credible than astrology. Still, you can't help but notice how there's always more fighting during these dark cold months, more tiredness and tears. "Whatever," helpfully chimes in your cynical side. Oh well, no matter what the case emotionally, at least the sensual beauty of the winter cannot be diminished.

ice. Coating every leaf and dead blade of grass, every dangerous street and sidewalk, the world is briefly turned crystal. Only one memory will last well, longer than any missed hours of work or tragicomical pratfalls onto the hard ground, and it is this: looking up through trees into the solid perfect blue sky, branches form a reticulate halo around the sun, each darkest black and brightest white at once.

He's standing at the back window, staring out at the yard as I slice vegetables. I smile to myself and watch as his breath fogs the glass. The pile of onions and mushrooms and tomato grows and his hands slide around my waist. He asks if he can do anything to help and I say no, just let me spoil you. Fine, he says, but tomorrow I'm going to make breakfast for you.

We fall into comfortable domesticity together, as though the months apart were hours. He showers while I brush my teeth. I cook and he cleans. We both shovel snow. Our bed (because it's our bed now) is warm and soft and small. We lie pressed together, our knees and elbows hanging off the edge but we sleep the best we have in months.

The museum is warm and weekday-empty. He takes my hand and we spend hours geeking out over old machine tools, guns, and locomotives. He steals a kiss from me in the locomotive cab, I steal one in the glass gallery. We smile like idiots and imagine living together in a Dymaxion house.

In the morning we go out to the river and walk across the ice. (Neither of us knows how to skate and it's only cute when one person is falling). He marvels that the world is covered with frozen water and never tires of looking at it. The snow is too dry for snowballs but he tries to throw them at me anyway.

--

reQuest 2018: "I want RedOmega to actually make a gushy daylog or node about her and Admin, like she keeps saying she wants to in the catbox :p"

7th of February 1994, Moscow, Russia

It’s early morning and it’s grey, the kind of grey that only these neglected post-communist high rises that surround me can portray, the kind of grey that seeps into your soul, even an 11 yr old Russian soul which has been bred to resist those kinds of feelings, or any feelings for that matter.
Four months of this grey winter, with no end in sight is slowly wearing down even the hardiest locals.
The constant and monotonous background hum of the city is interrupted only by the harsh caw of the resident crows, which makes this an unusually quiet morning for such a large city, almost always filled with a symphony of car alarms, sirens, people and barking.
Fresh snow, which could sometimes break the melancholy hasn’t fallen for days, making the streets a brown slushy of last week’s snow and a mix of salt and sand.

Those incessant crows! Assaulting my otherwise numb senses, pulling me away from my thoughts and into the harsh reality of the daily trudge to school.

I get off the filthy sidewalk, cross the road and cut across a small park, somehow, there are still white pockets of untouched snow, albeit sprinkled with dog shit; I decide to walk through the snow, hoping in vain that it will lift my mood, but instead making my progress more difficult and existence for those that follow even more dreary. Walking past the rubbish tip, I look up at the giant graffiti of a swear word, I feel shame every time I walk past, but it’s there to stay, whatever tar I found in the tip to draw this with, wasn’t coming off. I realise that due to the cold, the tip is not as fragrant as it usually is, not that the smell bothered me much anyway, having spent many a summer day rummaging through half rotten vegetables, looking for treasures.

Opposite the tip, a playground looks like it has been hit by a bomb, yet another act I’m not proud of, though this time it was a combined effort of roughly 20 neighbourhood kids; a need for destruction, an expression of anger, the rage of the city -channelled through its smallest residents. I was expecting it to be fixed, not realising that at the time, that the new government was too busy dividing previously public assets between themselves to worry about the people.
To my right, the remnants of snow pile, the snow pile I burrowed into not so long ago, after hearing that freezing to death wasn’t a bad way to go. To my left is where my friend got his younger sister to stand against the wall while we launched snowballs at her face until she cried, it is also where I caught a bottle thrown from the 5th floor with the back of my head.

These few blocks are my world, this my city.

I now find myself at the highway, eight lanes of chaos, the horns and sirens rip my thoughts from the past, and as I join the river of grey, I am no longer my regrets, no longer an individual, I am part of this crumbling city once again.

55.741731, 37.543984

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