In Spring, as They Say, Don Two Pairs of Pants

As usual around here, when something nice happens people start to wonder.

Such has been the case, anyway, with the weather.

It has been beautiful lately, with one balmy, sunny day after another. People are shedding their coats and woolens and breaking out in smiles. Let's face it, it's been a long and dreary winter, and this sun feels good. At last, prishla vesna krasna (beautiful spring has come).

Even better, it's not even the end of April and all the soupy gryaz, or muck, has dried up and gone. No more mud, no more snow.

Now that we can see the ground we're walking on once again, it's time to clean it up. There is musor (trash) of every variety out there, including some stuff we'd rather not talk about.

If you missed the Leninsky subbotnik (clean-up day, traditionally on April 22, Lenin's birthday), or chisty chetverg (the Thursday before Easter, when the pious give both themselves and their humble surroundings a good scrubbing), then you have only a few days left before the Maiskiye prazdniki, the May holidays.

But you won't stay clean for long on May Day. For conscientious Muscovites head to the sadovy uchastok, or garden plot, to get a head start on summer's crops. After all, "letny den god kormit" -- "a summer day feeds you for a year."

If the weather stays nice, then on May 1 and 2 people all over the Moscow region -- and most of the country -- will posadit redisku, ukrop (plant radishes, dill), and other vegetables in the ogorod (garden).

A week later, they'll have to steal away from Victory Day celebrations to do some real digging and sazhat kartoshku, or plant potatoes, under the sun.

When they're done with the ogorod, they'll turn to the sad, the garden with the flowers, raspberries and apple trees.

But this is getting way ahead of ourselves. It's still April. And isn't all this early sun and fun a little suspicious?

"Martok -- nadevai dvoye portok" -- "In March, put on two pairs of bloomers," i.e. don't be too eager for the warm weather.

If we're having our fun now, doesn't this mean that we're going to bundle up and freeze all through June, July, and August?

There is proof of this hypothesis: Last April was brisk, but summer was blissfully hot. Two years ago, though, dacha-goers were in shorts by the end of April, only to bundle up when summer really came around.

After all, "odna lastochka vesny ne delayet" -- "one swallow does not a spring make."

Summer isn't here yet, so don't put that down parka away.