Saturday, April 27, 2013

Painting the Trees White and the Streets Grey and Everything Else Green


One of the smells that will forever remind me of Moscow is that of wet paint.

Something I noticed as I began to wander the streets was that the people were painting everything.
Everything.

Every little fence (a lot of the grass is fenced off with calve-high fences).
Garbage can.
Grate.
Post.
Green. Yellow. Black. White.

And this was, in general, my first impression of Moscow. In Moscow, they paint everything.

Later, I was told that this happens twice a year and I just so happened to arrive during the first sunny weekend of the year (just like what happened in New York and D.C....) so they were all busy prepping for spring.

This wasn't a here-and-there observation, they were painting everywhere. Oh - the distinctive smell of paint.


I then saw a lot of people cleaning up the woods and the streets. My host, Olga, even spent yesterday evening cleaning up with the people of her work. The whole community seems to come together to do this.

Outside of the school, I saw children picking up the trash that had accumulated in the snow.
I saw folks in the park.


One other thing that baffled me was the painting of the trees.

All around town, in Vologda, trees had been painted whited. In fact, I saw some ladies painting the trees white.

Vologda? Why you paint your trees?

Nikita later 'splained that it was against bugs. Egor concurred.
The Internet said it was to reflect light to keep trees from heating up too fast after a cold winter.
I liked thinking it was just for decoration.

"Like in Alice in Wonderland," Egor said.
We're painting the roses red...
We're painting the trees white...
Paint the grass orange?


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