Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lady Winter or an Evil Witch?

Each time a year she comes, leaving no space for the other three to express themselves thoroughly. Sometimes she arrives too early for us to rejoice, and sometimes we impatiently wait for her to knock on the door. She's being hated and she's being loved, she is annoying and sometimes she's beautiful, she causes us pain and she makes us play. We laugh and we get angry, we have antagonistic feelings towards the one, whose presence is an inevitable natural phenomenon once a year. Lady Winter. When coming to mountains, hills and picturesque villages, she is a beauty. She wears her white coat as if it were velvet clouds that descended from the sky. But beware! As soon as she enters city gates, her coat turns grey, her face wrinkles and her softly distant touch becomes a creepy scratching of frozen nails. Winter in the city is an unwelcomed guest.

Brno is no exception to this. Everything starts with an innocent snowflake lightly dancing in the winter breeze. Soon you realize there is hundreds, thousands, millions and trillions of these tiny dancers occupying the city air. The first few minutes – or sometimes hours – of heavy snowing are magical even within the city gates. The fairy tale in progress, the white lady gently caressing our cheeks with her white little treasures floating in the air. The most magical views are those when the light goes out and the only world you see is those few metres of air within the reach of lamp light in the street, where snowflakes engage in glamorous dancing. It is these few moments that save the inhabitants from sending the whole winter to damnation. The night is over, the magical moment is gone, and you wake up into a day full of heavy soaked greyish mass in the streets, icy plates on the pathways, and forever-wet boots on your feet and the perfect chaos in city transportation. Welcome winter! We hate her most of the time and only when we go to the country we realize how pretty her white coat really is. It is the city that makes winter look ugly, yet we feel it is the other way around.
Easter comes when winter leaves and if it's not like that, there is a mistake in the system of our nature. Nature is perfectly programmed to mess up any human plans dependant on weather. There used to be hundreds of people at Mendel square in Brno drinking green beer every last Thursday before Easter. There may be hundreds of them in the pubs, but the Mendel square stays occupied only by lady winter's dirty snowy whims this year. Even though she makes life in a city unbalanced, cooperating with the other three friends of her she keeps nature in balance.

I have seen the beauties of winter ugliness even on a dull, freezing, darkish winter day. I went to my lecture and somehow ended up in one of our university cafeterias. That was the moment when I realized where all the students from Mendel square are. Winter might have prevented us from enjoying the Sun, but it also made us meet indoors and enjoy warmth of friendship and, preferably, a very sweet hot drink. There is never a moment more precious than the one when your hands frozen from the deadly wind touch a cup of fresh hot chocolate, or when your numb cheeks start moving upwards as you laugh with your friends. It might be a pathetic excuse for all the mess outside, but it is enough to brighten one's day and give a reason to the weather as it is.

On another occasion when I entered our UNI ground, I found myself in the very heart of a snow battle. No matter which programme you study or which faculty you attend, you are welcome to partake in a fight! First it feels like a friendly fight for fun, then it transforms into the fight of two sides – the snowy and the snowier one – and then, when fighting for your life, you realize, you're actually fighting your way out of the battle in order to save some spare fingers and toes before they go deadly frozen. It may take five hours to dry your clothes, but those fifteen minutes of 'snowing' over your peers are so much worth it that you don't care anymore. It is as legal to become a child, as it is legal for winter to come. I take the advantage of the former to prosper from the latter – even if only for a few moments. My thanks go to all those who try to enjoy it the way I did during that snow fight. There must be something magic going on at our university, as whenever I feel blue, I come to school and things change. I may not know when this weather ends, and I may not know how to make people feel somehow positive about it, but one thing I know for sure is that winter in Brno is not the same as winter at Masaryk University.

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