Global warming? Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments for it, and with the milder fall weather leaving colorful leaves on the trees just a week before Christmas, I had almost started to believe it. I even had visions of a short winter.
But those dreams have been smashed over the last several weeks as Korea endures its coldest winter in decades. With a little bit of free time on a Sunday afternoon at the end of January and a desire to document through photos what has been the worst winter I’ve experienced in my 10 years living here in Jeju, I headed out of the warmth of my house and into the deep freeze outside.
My goal was to walk up to Halla Library, a good 30 minutes from where I live, and then make my way back into the city before it got too dark. It was cold but bearable, and there wasn’t too much snow on the ground. I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem.
Within minutes, the weather changed and tiny flakes of snow began to fall all around me — here on a flower, there on the rocks of a ravine. About halfway to the library the snow started to fall faster. The trees looked beautiful, almost ghostly, as strong gusts of wind carried snow across them.
I made it to the library and, after a quick break, headed back down to the city. The snow continued to fall and pile up all around me.
As I entered the city again, I was greeted by a stark scene: a four-way intersection lay almost deserted except for a single car and two high school students, hoods pulled over their heads and hugging themselves to stay warm, waiting for the light to turn green. The snow was blown sideways and swept across the odd diffused light from the traffic lights above me. It was strangely silent except for the soft “pat pat” of the snow hitting the ground. What atmosphere! I snapped what would be my best picture of the day and slowly made my way the final few minutes home.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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