Jyanni Steffensen Her feet covered many cocoons...
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4 November                  Jinzhou                  2001

In November, it snowed for the first time that winter in Jinzhou, snowed, and snowed and snowed. Orlando Jones was marking papers for her film course, when she realised at mid-morning that the temperature had dropped considerably. She thought idly that it was probably cold enough for snow. About an hour later, she saw outside the window, tiny white snowflakes, some lighter than air, bobbing about. It seemed too early in the season for snow, but snow it did. It became heavier as the morning progressed and snowed steadily until almost evening (5 pm). Orlando Jones kept determinedly marking papers until she had almost finished (mid afternoon) and could bear it no longer. Putting on her new long underwear, hat, coat, boots, gloves and extra socks, she went out to play in the snow. There was something about the first snowfall that excited. She rushed about taking photographs and behaving as though she seldom saw snow in winter. That was true enough.

The last time Orlando Jones had seen falling snow was in New York in the winter of 1999. The last time Orlando Jones had seen fallen snow was in Karlstad (Sweden in April, 2000). When she stepped off the little commuter plane (with propellers) that took her from Copenhagen to Karlstad (where she was to present a conference paper), a riverthe spruce trees were covered with snow. The time in New York, J (another J) woke Orlando Jones early in the morning to come look at the snow falling. They dressed and rushed outside - it was bitterly cold and windy - and started taking photographs up and down Green Street, Soho. Orlando Jones slipped on the ice and injured her elbow. The UV filter on her camera was also smashed, not that she needed it for photographing that morning. The edge of the camera lens still had a dent in it, and the outer rim of the filter was jammed hard on to the lens. In the photographs, people were walking along Green St rugged up in thick layers of clothing, with their faces covered, hands in pockets and heads down into the wind. All Orlando Jones remembered was how excited she felt, not even really noticing how damaged her elbow was until much later when she could no longer bend her arm. In one of the photographs a man was taking his dog for a walk. Some of Orlando Jones's Chinese students observed this also. In one of the New York photographs were the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. On the day after Orlando Jones showed this photograph to the students (September 11), the towers (unbelievably) fell down.

Orlando Jones began reading Anna Karenina again from the beginning without skipping the characters who appealed to her least. There was also a skating scene in Alesandr Puskin's epic poem, Evgene Onegin, she believed at the time. She waited for the river, which runs through Jinzhou, to freeze over so she could skate. The river was very wide (to her mind), but this could have been that the rivers in cities to which she was accustomed were quite narrow. Because it was wide, she mistakenly assumed that it was deep. She was told that it was so shallow that one could walk across it without ever having to swim. That, she thought, was good news for skaters