The day I arrived in Moscow was a beautiful day with blue skies and mild temperatures, but I was exhausted from an overnight flight with little sleep and drama with renting The Gallery (a story for another post 😉 ), so I stayed home to unpack and rest.

Over the following days, temps dove and the skies turned cloudy. I met colleagues for dinner, and one of them lamented that these grey skies were all we would see until spring.

But the next week, Friday was bright and beatific.

A tree whose leaves have turned yellow dominates the right hand side of the frame, it is hanging over a still pond that reflects the yellow riot of leaves, the blue sky, and some white, puffy clouds.

There’s an American expression: “You’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.” Figuratively, it’s a reminder to take advantage of favorable conditions in order to get things done. It’s literally a lesson from the experience of  agriculture.

“Making hay” is the process of turning a grass crop in the field into stored feed for later. The live grass needs to be cut, laid down to dry, turned over to dry some more, and then formed into bales (or haystacks) or gathered onto wagons and pitched into a hayloft loose. It’s incredibly demanding labor–dusty, heavy, and hot.

Sunshine is necessary to this process at every step. If the grass is too wet, the cutting tools won’t work or it will grow mold in the rows, in the bales, or in the loft, and then can make the livestock sick when they eat it.

Making summertime plans with the farmers in my life has always been contingent on the sun, or it’s absence: “If it rains on Tuesday, we can meet up on Wednesday. If it’s sunny both days, we’ll be making hay on Wednesday.” Or, “The forecast is dry sunshine for the next ten days. We’ll be making hay, all other plans cancelled.”

When, after days of solid grey skies in Moscow, I woke up to this, I thought, “All other plans cancelled. Time to make hay!”

A view of the same pond as the previous photo from inside a restaurant built over the water. The shot is framed by the widowsill at bottom and the roof overhang at top.

So I took myself and my reading out to dinner in the restaurant built over the pond in my neighborhood and enjoyed the view of sunshine on the water from inside and then a stroll around the pond afterward.

On a cafe table, there is an open book, a tea pot, a cup of tea, and a serving of the most amazing raspberry black currant sorbet.

This past Sunday was a similarly gorgeous day, so I walked along the Moskva past the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to Gorky Park.

The grey skies have returned, and a soft rain is falling outside my window as I write this. I’m glad to have had the interlude of sunshine, but also happy the clouds are back. It was a lovely walk, but I got a bit of a sunburn.