Hiking Around Alvani

Anywhere I go, I like to explore new places by walking around, seeing things at pace slow enough to notice details. Georgia has been no exception, and I’ve really been enjoying the arrival of spring here in Kakheti, which brought with it rapid changes in the landscape. Most notably, the color palette seems to expand every day.

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Winter was dry and cold, so dead leaves never got the chance to decompose, leaving a crunchy layer of the last season behind. Finally, new life is poking up from beneath the earthy reminder of fall. Against a backdrop of varied browns, the flowers look almost fluorescent. My students have been talking about gathering violets for weeks, and I think it’s finally time for everyone to venture out into the woods. I won’t be the only one wandering through the trees anymore.

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Even before locals decided it was time to enjoy nature again, I had taken a few afternoon walks out into the hills surrounding Zemo Alvani. Everyone warned me about the stray dogs at the edge of the village, so I’m extra careful during the transition from houses and stables, across a partially frozen canal, into the fields, and finally to the beginning of the low, brushy forest. When I hear shepherds, sheep, cows, or bells, I walk quickly in some other direction, hoping to avoid another encounter with the terrifying dogs that accompany any herd.

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My current environs look like this:

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