The phrase “since the communist era” is an overworked one when discussing the weather; it’s as if the weather patterns were affected somehow by the Velvet Revolution. My first winter here was the coldest winter since communist times. There was a period of almost a month where the temperature never got above freezing. Not even once. The mercury never so much as poked its head above the zero line, groundhog-like; it stayed in the cellar. That winter, it was a notable event when I stepped in mud one day, simply because there was mud to step in.
Last winter was the snowiest since the communist era. Memories of the flooding a few years ago had locals looking pensively at the deep snow in the mountains, and when spring rains accelerated the melting process there was a feeling of held breath. I expect there was as much water this time as last, but the powers that be managed the potential disaster much better this time. (Thanks, Austria, for not screwing us over this time!)
This winter is only two days old, so it’s hard to characterize. The temperature is finally below freezing, and I pulled out my winter coat (thanks, Mom!) last night for the first time. Somewhere in Ireland my gloves, my beloved hunters gloves lie, and I miss them right now. (They are fingerless, but with a mitten flap that can be folded over the digits when they’re not typing. MaK dethumbed them for me, making them the only harsh-weather typing gloves on the planet.) Although I am ill-equipped this year, I welcome the cold. It’s one of the things that has forged the national character of the Czechs, an active character in the story of life here.