02 March 2009

March Anticipation of Our Summer Life

Joseph Conrad, one of my favorite authors, referred to a heart of darkness of the mind. A physical heart of darkness is found in St. Petersburg Russia... not the Congo... in late December. The sun is low to the horizon, shows for less that six hours a day, and then usually is just a cold white grey light. Fortunately the law of nature is change, so gradually and then with increasing speed we get longer and longer days. Now we have 10 1/2 hours of stronger light... a welcome improvement!

Maslenitsa, the weeklong Russian bline festival which hurries winter with effigy burning, plays, and dancing, finished this weekend. Throughout last week we ate lots of bline and took time to be social with family and friends.

People here look at the the division of a day, and that of the seasons differently. The evening is until 12, the night until dawn... then a new day starts. Seasons begin on the first of the month... So, March 1 is considered by many Russians as the beginning of spring... another hopeful sign!

We still enjoy the snow in Udelny Park, but now our attention is drawn to newly migrant birds, buds on the trees, and increasing mud!

Russia is filled with people whose parents or grandparents came from a village, and for many of these people it is important and a pleasure to return to a rural life in the warmer months. City life has its rewards, but after some atrocious city weather, people notice the signs of warming towards summer and turn their thoughts to the good life waiting them in the countryside.

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