The Ice Cometh

My personal, unofficial transition into fall happened today (the ‘official’ one being tomorrow, the autumnal equinox.)  It has rained on and off all day – not the kind of blustery squall that would blow through like a manic cleaning woman in the scorch of mid-afternoon in July, trailing a host of billowing white clouds like freshly cleaned sheets snapping on a summer clothesline.   This was a desultory but persistent rain, brought in by a sodden heap of wet gray blanket flung across the sky and left to leak its grey water upon everything below.  By afternoon a stiff wind was throwing its weight around and umbrellas were trudging along the streets at an angle.  Summer disappeared overnight, sweeping her dusty skirts behind her.

Now it’s 5:30 and the sun has slid behind the huddled row of derelict buildings lurking curbside across the street outside my window.   This weather fits Moldova, kind of like a well worn hoodie.  It doesn’t bear up well under the harsh glare of sunlight.  This country needs some weathery camouflage to bury its dust in mud and drape its crumbling facades under a lacy veil of mist.  It almost looks good in steely gray, like it’s finally taken off the summer togs that were just not appropriate and frankly looked rather ridiculous and gotten down to the business of revealing its true character.  Gloom and doom.

In fact, the looming portent of winter crops up in many of our conversations lately.  There are no snow plows here.  No municipal trucks to spread salt on the road.  We will be contending with ice-shellacked crooked, concrete stairways with no handrails.  Frosted roads with no sidewalks.  And branch loads of snow dropping from the trees that surround the buildings and line the streets.   And mud.  Where there was once dirt there will be mud. Lots and lots and lots of mud.

My parents sent me two large packages containing all my winter gear on August 27.  The packages cleared Moldovan customs on September 7.  Then they apparently went undercover.  No sign of them at Peace Corps office.  A forlorn email inquiry to the PC office manager, who handles all the mail, has thus far gone unanswered.  (Luckily, I brought a raincoat with a fur lining and some rain boots with me.)  The chill here is decidedly different than the cool and breezy, sun dappled relief of Southern California’s ”winters.” (I use that term oh so loosely.) Last week it was in the high 70’s here; today it didn’t get above 54 degrees.  I have a feeling I’m about to discover what winter really means.

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5 thoughts on “The Ice Cometh

  1. Yikes. Put the word out if you need those who can to send you a winter thing or two. After your stories of the concert and the baby shower et al I’m sure your boxes are someone on their own car/bus/road adventure

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  2. This is such a lovely and well-written description! Great pictures! Your words remind me of winter in Minnesota, which I escaped from after raising my children. We definitely had snowplows and chemicals on icy roads that destroyed the chassis of every car. Time to pull out the knitting!

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  3. WOW! Should we all be sending you some dollars to get you a coat should the packages not show? The image of you shivering and wet are not comforting. Fall has come to California but has shown itself in other ways. I have changed everything out and put Fall decorations around to make it feel cooler since there is an Indian summer present here. Man, we are spoiled.

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    1. Thankfully, I received three boxes of winter clothes yesterday (total weight, about 70 pounds.) Now I have to figure out how to get them from Chisinau to my home in Hincesti. But at least I will be warm! Yvette

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