From snow to summer in Astana, Kazakhstan

From snow to summer in Astana, Kazakhstan

It’s a bit funny to be writing today, as it’s cool and gray outside. But I did want to share pictures from yesterday, a delightfully warm day, with leaves in green and families out walking and sitting in parks across the city. Here’s a shot of the Bayterek tower:

But the seasons vary a lot here. For instance, by mid-Autumn the leaves begin to wither, the winds pick up, and city goes brown:

In September, people may still go out boating on the river:

But soon it’s winter, and snow begins to fall:

It falls through the winter, softly at first in the last months of the year:

And then persists through the long winter months (Kazakhstan has one of the world’s coldest capitals, with fierce competition from Canada and Mongolia):

These are the winter months where darkness sleeps late in the mornings [waiting at 7:30am for the school bus, below]:

Months where darkness comes to bed early at night:

Months when strong winds drive ice into our faces, while the sky is stark and beautiful:

But at last, the snow begins to melt:

It melts into the streets, which make little use of drainage gutters…

Great trucks come to dig mountains of snow from the children’s play yard at school:

And public displays celebrate spring:

… Sometimes even before spring arrives (!)

But finally it comes, leaving water in pools:

And sinking holes into the softening ground beneath the city.

Then, friends and families go out to walk in the city parks:

Bride and groom for weddings in the square:

And the short trees and long grasses breathe with summer. It takes us a white to get here, but when it comes — even for a brief day like yesterday — it is oh-so-good!

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