To conclude our week about the woes of the approaching cold weather we will finish with one last glum word and some wise advice from the Russian Demi-God, Pushkin(if you don’t know who Pushkin is don’t bother learning another word of Russian until you do).

Ныть-as a verb means ‘to complain’.  Having been spoiled by the pleasant temperatures of September, this time of year you might find that you ноешь о холоде. (Whining about the weather).  If you are doing that you are probably not a Russian. Russians have long since submitted to their miserable climate and even tout sayings like: “У природы нет плохой погоды” (Nature doesn’t have bad weather).

But for those of us who have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder мрачная погода наводит на нас уныние (gloomy weather brings us low spirits).

And that’s okay.

Some other words that may apply to your despondent mood include:

Унывать-is the verb form and means to lose heart or to be down trodden.

Унылый- is the adjective and is defined as cheerless, glum or despondent.

It’s brilliant that they invented the holiday Halloween. Because just as November approaches and you’re about to really впасть в уныние (fall into low spirits) you go trick-or-treating with your children, steal their giant bucket of candy and voila! you have a happy sugar high that will hold you over til Thanksgiving!

But for the Russians who haven’t had the legacy of Halloween, they have this wise advice of Pushkin about how to deal with уныние: (I don’t claim to be a translator but I’ll try and translate as best I can, if nothing else my translation should be amusing).

Если жизнь тебя обманет,                                    If life should deceive you,
Не печалься, не сердись!                                     Don’t be sad or angry!
В день уныния смирись:                                     On a day of low spirits, submit:
День веселья, верь, настанет.                           A day of joy, believe, will come.

Сердце в будущем живет;                                  The heart lives in the future;
Настоящее уныло:                                             The present is glum:
Все мгновенно, все пройдет;                              But all is fleeting, all will pass;
Что пройдет, то будет мило.                             And that which is has passed will be sweet.

Me in Suzdal November, 2004

And this is definitely true. Although doing a week focused on the dreary winter nights of Moscow living has made me especially grateful that the sun is brightly shining where I live now, it has also reminded me how fun those winters were.  Scurrying with friends from metro stops to any indoor place as we sloppily slipped around on the ice.  Feeling like warriors when we looked up to see the clock above the metro stop showing the temperature as -35 Celsius(the lowest I ever saw it get with my own eyes was -42). Stomping off your boots at the door and peeling off layer after layer after layer after layer of clothes.  Huddling around hot cups of tea in friends’ kitchens accompanied by hours and hours of conversation and laughter. We made our own warmth and light. And Pushkin is right, it is sweet to remember it all now.