More and more often I see people talking about how they were spending the winter in their childhood. I hear stories about endless days of snow covering everything, days of sledging and of building up snowmen, in one word, real winter days. I remember myself going on the hill in the back of my grandparents’ house and flying from the top of it with a sledge. I was afraid at the beginning, someone from my family was always coming with me on the sledge, but soon I was able to do it by myself feeling no fear.
The less wintertime we get, the more people are talking about how it used to be. One thing is clear: we don’t get as much snowy winters as we were used to. At least not in Romania. In the past few years, every winter they announce on television: “This is the warmest winter in the last 20 years”. But then the next winter they announce the same. And so every winter becomes the warmest winter ever. And so on.
More and more often I hear people speaking about “global warming”, from now on an expression with so much resonance. They also speak about “The Ecological Problems”. A few years ago such sintagmas were not so popular at all. On the contrary, if you were trying to talk about ‘ecological problems” and about pollution and this entire staff, quite a lot of people would give a funny laugh about you. Ha, ha, here comes the Ecologist one who wants to save the planet!”
Now you hardly get this kind of jokes. But we don’t get much snow as well. In fact, the concept of winter as we know it, is changing slowly, but radically. The moment I am writing this article I sit in the Ciampino Airport from Rome, waiting for a flight to Berlin (yes, aeroplanes are polluting a lot, I know). It’s beginning of February and there is so much sun all around. People are taking sunbaths, wearing t-shirts and waiting with their feet naked, without shoes. Actually it looks a little bit incredible. Sun shining, weather is fine, make you wanna move your dancing feet now…good old Bob Marley.
Two winters ago I was doing research for my thesis about alternative house projects in Berlin. It was a cold long winter. And it also snowed. I was in a trailer park not far away from Warschauerstrasse, talking to Dragan in his van, drinking hot tea and listening to music. At a point we had to go out and cut some wood to keep the fire. Then it started to snow. It was a beautiful peaceful snowing and Dragan kept on cutting the wood.
One winter ago I was again in Berlin, in December. This time it snowed generously. I was living on Brunnenstrasse, not far away from Rosenthaller Platz. For a few days, Felix, Elena and I kept on going in the park next to the metro station, taking a sledge with us. We were mixing with kids from the park, trying the little sledge all together, the 3 of us at the same time. I felt happy. Then the snow started to melt and shortly after we left Berlin.
This winter, of course, I went again to Berlin in December, with my friend Ioana. “Poor but sexy” Berlin greeted us with lots of dark, quite rainy days, but hardly any snow. We were living with a friend at Schoenholz, somewhere in the north of the city, in a house with a small forest in the back. There it was cloudy all the time. It seemed that the clouds of Berlin really wanted to stay upon Schoenholz and just there. But again, hardly any snow. Franzi, a girl from the house told me: “Yeah, you are here again, then it should start snowing”. “Why?” I asked. “Because 2 years ago when you first came here I remember it started to snow, and for a reason or another I associate your coming with the snow time…” “Well, let’s wait and see”, I said. But it was only a poor snowing attempt. No snow, just crazy clouds hanging all over.
When I passed on Brunnenstrasse again with Felix, we took a look at the park where we had so much fun last winter. It was empty and deserted. Then I came back to Bucharest and there were so many days of sunshine: real spring days in the middle of the winter. I took my dog on long walks in the park, dressed up with my spring clothes, bought lily flowers from the women selling them at every street corner, enjoyed the strange sun and forgot about the snow.
Meanwhile, in Siberia, it has been snowing for the first time with orange snow. But there were found some explanations for it, of course…