Spring in Erdenet

I awoke at dawn Thursday morning, April 24, to the sound of high winds blowing on different notes through every opening and crack in the building where I live. There were many kinds of sounds: whistling through crevices, hollow-open sounds, ghost-like, and a bit of window-rattling for percussion. It was a chorus! I looked outside, and couldn’t see very far into the distance. Snow was flying almost horizontally ahead of a strong wind. The day before had been warm and soft, perhaps even reaching 60F. Looking around then, contemplating the forecast I’d read, I found it unbelievable on such a beautiful day that it would be snowing in 12 hours. But it moved in quickly. It didn’t take long for the ground to be covered with drifts. It was lovely to be inside that morning with nowhere to be until mid-afternoon, and then, only next door.

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The Raven’s nest near the top of the lightening rod held firm through the storm.

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This snow wasn’t sloppy until the second day, and it was surprising to me how the cold held, after we’d had spring weather for weeks. It stayed below freezing until the afternoon of the second day.

It’s been an unseasonably warm winter, by all accounts. I kept bracing for the long haul of subzero weather without end, and it didn’t really come. Subzero came, but not deep into the negative for months, as most years, and it didn’t snow as much as usual. I would bet that the majority of days this winter warmed up to at least zero degrees Fahrenheit.

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Spring here brings burning. Mongolians love to burn things – trash, dead grass, old clothing. (There’s a superstition here that if you wear something that someone else wore, you take on their energy.) The smell is sometimes overpowering. Only occasionally do I see anyone tending these fires, though I don’t know of any buildings that have burned from untended fires.

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Spring also brings the brutal cutting of the trees. I had been observing some birds in the tops of the trees in front of my building, and I was anticipating the leafing out. Trees are rare here, and I consider myself very lucky to live in a part of town that has trees, with a concentration of them outside my building. Then one day, men came with chain saws and cut all the branches off them, leaving trunks standing naked anywhere from 5 to 12 feet high. They have done this all over my neighborhood, and it’s heartbreaking to me! I was reassured by a Mongolian friend that in June the trees would look beautiful again. I asked a counterpart if there were arborists here, and she quickly said, no. No one would pay for something like that.

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The trees before

 

 

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The trees after

 

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During the winter, I saw few dogs in the city. But when spring arrived, so did a handful of dogs and a few puppies that survived the winter. I’ve heard there’s a bounty on them, yet I continue to see the same ones week after week. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen them for a few days . . .

And then there are the cows that periodically delight me by grazing in the city.

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There are signs of hope here now. I’m seeing green sprouting on the ground. I saw 2 dandelions today. And a few birds have returned, one being a hawk I hadn’t seen since fall. People say this is a migration path, and I eagerly await my feathered friends.

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Every dawn, except on snow days, I find a spectacularly lit sky that casts a glow into my living room and bedroom. What a wonderful way to start the day!

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And here, in contrast to my rather myopic post, is a post written by fellow PCV, Adam Garnica, about an inspiring fellow PCV here:

http://2secondstreet.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/universe-best-song/#like-1314

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9 thoughts on “Spring in Erdenet

  1. Sad about the trees. There is one which looks like that on my street, and it has not died, it seems, but has not developed either. Lovely to hear of cows grazing in the city. Thank you.

  2. hi Kathleen, i so look forward to your blog posts, they’re wonderful! i live vicariously through you in this remote, exotic land. thanks for writing 🙂 all my love and best wishes to you for a warm and green spring, xox L.

  3. Hey Kathers, You had a mild winter, we had a Mongolian winter! There is still 18-30 inches of snow in northern MN, and we are all scheduled for snow tomorrow and Wednesday! YUK! I was listening to a weather show on Public Radio, and they say that the earth is warming at a rapid pace, and that most of the earth was way warmer than usual (like Mongolia was) but that North America was colder that usual, particularly Minnesota! With this next snow coming, it will be the snowiest winter on record! So, it is cold and raining today, highs about 43 and tomorrow: just the early 30s and snow. And of course high cold winds both days. I am so glad you are seeing signs of spring there because they are hard come by here! Usually by the middle of April we have that beautiful lacey green on trees, but not this year. I am, however, counting the days until this is over. Both the long winter and the school year… I am planning to visit both coasts this summer, with Spencer and Seattle being my goals. Becky is going to France I know, and I was hoping to hijack Barby for the West coast visit, but she is now working her summer school program at the center (“for free!” shouts Steve) so there went my driving companion for that rendezvous! Bridgit and the girls may join me for the Spencer run, but we’ll see. We have our Senior Awards presentation tonight, so I need to toddle on and get things ready. Love to all of you!

  4. Haha! Love the “Spring flowers”. Glad that the winter didn’t drag on and on..and that your were promised that the trees would, indeed leaf out in June. Thank goodness! I reposted Adam Garnica’s post on FB. Loved their version of “Happy”! Reminder…do you know that Adam Garnica is the nephew of John Garnica, who I went to High School with? He is married to his high school sweetheart, Beverly Garnica. I visited them both in Fillmore, when I was down in California for the Peace March reunion. We live in such a small world! Hugs to you from the green and luscious Pacific Northwest!

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