If you want objective, clinical data, you can rely, like everyone one else, on the calendar. Alternatively, if you place no faith in such tools of oppression employed by The Man, the changing of the leaves and snow flurries can also give you broad outline of the path the earth is taking around the sun.
But Ukraine is a complicated place. There's a lot going on beneath the surface, undetectable to the untrained eye.
Monkeys in Kyiv could identify its four seasons without a problem: the day ice starts to melt and the sound of moving water enters urban soundscape; the first outdoor beer and shashlyk at Kafe Bogatir; the first time you get pinged in the head by a falling kashtan (chestnut); the first time a carpetdog's pee freezes into a yellow icicle when he lifts his leg.
But, as with most questions in Kyiv, one must consult the Devushka oracle to get a complete answer.
Kyiv has micro-seasons. If you fail to pay careful attention to the wardrobe selections made by its young female residents, you may not notice them.
For example, anyone with eyes can see it's over-the-knee, black stiletto boot season. It arrived about a month ago, pushing late summer's open-toed sandal-style stilettos to dark closet recesses. Its arrival coincided with the season of fading Antalya package tour tans and fraying of madcap summer holiday cornrows.
Away went the cropped, tramp-stamp revealing tops and out came the cropped, puffy, rabbit-fur jackets, in a rainbow of colors that do not appear in nature.
This lasted about a month. Now it's starting to get seriously cold, yet skirts still reveal far more than many people want to see. Won't these girls make the slightest concession to personal comfort and insulate their labia?
Of course not.
The coats simply get longer. Heavy black, ankle-length wool (sometimes dog fur purchased at mink prices) makes it possible for Devushkas to keep their femininity intact even if it's 25 degrees below. Those heavy-duty nude extra-shiny support nylons, the kind you were told to wear as a teenager because they would "make your legs look tan," if by tan one means "glowing like radioactive nougat," serve as extra insulation.
So, when do over-the-knee, black stiletto boots go out of season? Surely when Kyiv's sidewalks are coated with a layer of ice? That's where you're wrong. Stiletto heels NEVER go out of fashion in Ukraine. In fact, some Devushkas might argue that the spikes may provide increased traction when walking down icy streets.
If you learn nothing else from this blog, remember that whatever the question, Devushkas hold the answer,