It's starting to turn towards spring here in Armenia. The snow is quickly retreating from the mountains--though there wasn't a whole lot to begin with in these parts--the days are lengthening, and it's fitfully getting warmer. There's nothing particular about spring that brings this to mind, but I begin to feel a bit chaotic around this time of a season. The changing of the seasons anywhere that I am and in any season always seems to me to be a small moment of greater chaos in life (more than the usual) because it brings with it different expectations, different activities, different feelings. Here in Armenia I feel that especially strongly, but not just because these are all wrapped up with the knowledge that I'll be going back to America soon. I felt this way this time last year, and in fact feel it strongly on the cusp of every season's change here. I can feel that change happening inside me, as my emotions roll around and try to adjust to the new reality of what my days will start to be like, what sort of new schedule I'll be on. I have to remember at the end of this season that silence in the evenings--outside of the trucks rolling past--is only a function of winter, as I begin to hear kids playing in the courtyard. And I allow myself the pleasure of contributing to this new noise by sitting on my porch with the banjo.
I often find that I can clarify how strongly the change in seasons is for me in Armenia every time I remember "it's almost time for new vegetables and new fruits!" It's hard to describe in some ways, but the irony for me is that in a place where the culture doesn't change that much that it's the change in what I can eat that brings dynamism to my life. At any point in time in America, though things are constantly changing around me and my life is always in flux, I can and do eat a similar diet all year round. But in Armenia, it's gastronomy that changes my life. Spring's coming, and my mind wanders to thoughts of spinach, and spring lettuce, and zucchini. I'm trying to adjust to this new reality that what I'm cooking is about to move farther from what comes from a can, or from the nourishing potato and cabbage and onion.
But it's chaos! Where do I start?! How do I prepare for its arrival?! This coming abundance is simply too much to think about!
Every change in season brings about these feelings of an increase in chaos, even in America, but I feel it so strongly here, because it's among the few things I find that changes quickly here. When all the culture around me goes on in the same way it's gone on since I arrived in the country, it's the seasons that bring dynamism; it's their change that throws me off kilter.