Bulgaria did not seem to have a winter in 2006/7, but all that seems to have changed this year. The cold wintry, “normal” weather is back with a vengeance. This January has brought frigid temperatures and heavy accumulations of snow across the country and has turned getting around into a bit of an adventure! I myself spent 5 days snowed in and unable to travel at my house in Vetrensi some 20 kilometers from Veliko Tarnovo. It got to the point of melting snow over a fire to make bean soup as my water pipes were frozen and my supplies only consisted of assorted nasty meals in a can, the standby obligatory tin of ancient Spam and a few sacks of beans that came with the house when I bought it. Yes, I, like many others, was totally caught off guard this winter when the recent snowstorm rolled across Bulgaria on the 1st of January! We all had been lulled into complacency after last winter’s failure to fully appear only to realize that the winds blowing from Siberia are still bitterly cold and able to greatly affect our region.
One can learn a lot from the way that a country deals with and goes about its business during such adverse weather conditions. Bulgarians seemed to take it all in their stride; tying socks around their shoes and putting chains on their tires in order to get a better grip on the snow whether walking or driving. In the West everything shuts down and every form of management control is put into affect in order to justify their organizational yearly budget. Plows, snow blowers, sand trucks, de-icing sprayers form an inspiring line of defense in countries like the U.S. Here in Bulgaria they take a much simpler approach by doing what they can when it comes to plowing and such, but basically realizing that if it is too cold outside, then it’s probably better to stay inside where it is warm. Simplicity in a nutshell. I mean think about it; why would you want to go somewhere when it is so cold even if you can; if you really don’t have to? The hustle and bustle of the daily modern grind has gotten everyone in the West to feel that they must always be going somewhere, and that if they stay put for any great period of time, they will somehow miss out on some spiritual freedom in life. As for me; well I am content with just having food, cigarettes, beer and enough wood to keep a roaring fire going until it’s spring again. Till then just think about sunny South Pacific Islands and try to keep warm.