It started to snow yesterday evening. My first snowfall in Kabul. It started slowly with small flakes that grew bigger through the night until dawn, when the city was entirely covered in white.
This morning I go out early, on my own.
There are very few people on the street. The fresh snow allows me to negotiate my path between the frozen road and the non existing footpaths. The uncertainty of my steps forces me to look down, towards the dirty mix of snow, smog and ice, in search for stability and safety.
It takes me a deep breath and a bit of self control to realise that I am missing out and to lift my eyes off the ground.
And once again the city surprises me with the poetry of its unexpected beauty. What surrounds me pays me back for these efforts.
With my nose upwards and snowflakes on the lenses of my specs: it’s all right – I tell myself – even if it takes fifteen minutes to walk five hundred meters and a bit of breathing to fight the fear of slipping and falling: it’s all right.
A boy with a green woollen hat smiles and says hello. Salaam, I reply.
It is all so beautiful.
The softened sounds: the magic of silence in a place where the noise of traffic and helicopters dominates the soundscape. The icy embroidery on the naked branches of the trees: a delicate parenthesis in a city scarred by bombs first and by the bad taste of the post war reconstruction later.
A car runs past me sloshing brown snow all over and pulls me out of my reverie. I wonder what army tanks covered in snow may look like, I wonder if the white coat may make them look less scary. The brown slosh is a powerful coming back to my present: a reminder that is important to think of beauty in relation to its context and that is important not to forget to keep looking around.