Moroz is not a cold from these parts, its dance starts after crossing the threshold of the zero degrees, the first step of a fifty-step marble staircase that goes deep, grade by grade, adjective after adjective, into a hell of ice.
This is a visual and emotional walk through the cold, the snow, the silence.
Today is a winter’s morning. The thermometer reads -15ºC. That’s serious cold. This trait won’t change until -22. Later it will become crude, unforgiving, and only from -44 on, it will be described as extreme. Oy, moroz, moroz!
The snow creaks, high heels balance on the icy surface, they draw icicles. The sewer smokes. A thick-haired ball grumbles, twists and begins to walk under the watchful eye of a crow. Noise of cars.
I descend the Lysa Hora, the bald mountain, the magic mountain, and arrive to Podil, the neighbourhood on the banks of the Dnieper.
The hustle and bustle surround me in the Nizhni val, a boulevard like ours.
An old woman with a platok on her head sells a piece of meat, two jars of honey, some garlic; an old man offers cheap clothes hangers, a brush. Beyond, a group of people swirls before the doors of an old truck. They buy guts while an icy wind with the smell of river lashes like a whip. Thermal sensation: -20ºC.
Sellers do not move, they won’t, as every day, as always, from 8 in the morning. No one will leave the street until the sun hides behind the hill.
At the river port everything is silent.
I walk a few yards and see some barracks. A woman dozes in the open. The sun, that caress. The pipes leak solid.
The mist begins to rise, the cold now on horseback. Before me the frozen, mute river. In the distance, the Master and Margarita next to the Trukhanov, the island of dogs.
Stepping on the water, the silence.
It is two o'clock: gloom, white water, black water, playdough, broken glass.
A ship, the Bogdan Khmelnitski, the great Cossack ataman, the legend, the myth, beached on the ice.