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Snow transforms the landscape

The snows, which began in November and continued well into March, stimulated my visual interest in many ways. The snows themselves were various, sometimes fiercely blowing in a sideways gale, at other times quarter-size flakes floating ambiguously downwards, dancing a lovely dance on their way—it was the kind of  snow I have only seen in 1940s movies. Lodz, much of which is dirty and run-down, was transformed by this snow-covering into a wonderland.

The dogs of Lodz, mostly German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls, of which there are vast numbers, all sporting their Hannibal Lector muzzles (required by law), seemed to be offended by all that beauty.  Upon the pure snow they relentlessly deposited their excrement—in uncountable amounts. And all mounds of snow, however slight, were turned yellow by the lifting of canine hind-legs. Once I saw this procedure performed in a most unusual manner. On a late February day I observed some extraordinary canine gymnastics: a bushy white dog ahead of me, initially walking as usual on her four legs, all of a sudden went up on her forepaws, shifted a little to orient her back to a pile of urine-covered snow, and then shot forth her mark—all the time balancing on her front paws with the rear ones off the ground pointing upward. When the dog had completed this skillful maneuver, she stepped two-footedly away from this newly claimed snow pile and carefully brought her rear paws to the ground. I imagined this animal to be a radical feminist dog making her mark in a male-dominated dog world.

Often the snow-globe would turn upside down during the night so that the previous day’s foulings would be covered over with fresh snow, and the city would be made newly beautiful again and again.

All during the months of snow I marveled at the number of little old Polish ladies who were undeterred by the hazards of slick sidewalks from going about their daily shopping.  They were safened by their low center of gravity, for they were built in such a way that toppling over seemed almost an impossibility. I never saw one of them fall, while my own dangerous and precarious lankiness left me dancing erratically on the icy walkways to remain upright.