What began as rain early Friday morning became snow by the time the sun rose. Big flakes and little wind, so it fell quietly. After a couple of hours working at home and a few more on campus, I walked to an appointment, about 45 minutes through six inches of snow reduced to three inches of slush that wouldn’t melt any further.
I’m never sure what to call our sessions, but I’ve come to enjoy the informality and bluntness of our exchanges, the mutual respect, and even the routine of the walk along Sovietskaya, the predictability of the same destination on the same day, and all the little ways in which the weather, honking traffic, storefronts, building construction, pedestrians and peddlers, and new coats of graffiti on the pedestrian viaducts change every week. I mark the passage of time, my seasons in Bishkek with my memories of these walks.
We started late—I photographed my wet feet and the familiar posters and maps hanging on the walls while waiting—and by the time I left it was snowing again, big flakes falling slowly from a gray sky all the way home until my head and leather jacket were soaked. But it was the first of the season and there were no frowns on the faces I passed. Or on mine.