The White Winter

Russians say that in their country there are only two seasons: the White Winter and the Green Winter. Depending on latitude, the Green winter can begin anywhere from as early as April to as late as June. As the name implies, when the Green winter begins, nature turns a wonderful, lush green. But that does not make it spring, much less summer. Temperatures can plummet from a balmy 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit for my American friends) to below freezing in a matter of a few hours. On the second of June, this year, it snowed in Moscow…

The White Winter, on the other hand, is rather more reliable. There comes a time in the fall (the end of the Green Winter, if you are talking to a Russian) when the snow doesn’t melt. Everything turns white and stays white for a number of months. Ad if you are either North enough or East enough (where the climate is continental), by “everything” I mean EVERYTHING: land, rivers, lakes, even most of the northern seas freeze solid and are covered by a blanket of snow.

The coldest and most beautiful days are those when the sky is blue, right after a big snow storm. Below -15, -20 (0 F) there is basically no humidity left in the air. It feels like being high on a mountain, with incredibly transparent air and a dry cold from which it is (relatively) easy to defend oneself.

The picture above is of a forest after such a snowstorm, near the spa (thermal waters) town of Krasnousolsky, a favorite place for holiday makers in the Bashkortostan Republic of the Russian Federation, some 130 km (80 miles) south of the city of Ufa. It’s a picture I took with my old, trusty, iPhone4 (which just doesn’t want to stop working, giving me an excuse to upgrade!), that I just converted in black and white.

You can see it bigger on my photography site: The World Photos, along with a map showing you exactly where it was taken (in case for some reason your geographical knowledge of the Bashkortostan Republic is a bit rusty!).

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