I took the suggestion of some of yesterdays commenters and tried to write an intro paragraph to bring out more about the summer season in Moscow where the poplar seeds fly like snow all over the city. I look at what I came up with and it feels strange, unnatural, as if I'm faking it somehow. I wonder if some of my more literary inclined readers might look at what I am trying to convey and see some clearly better means of expressing it?
I want to introduce the character Zoya, who normally loves the poplar seed season, but she's been forced to come to a part of the city that frightens her. This is my awkward attempt:
Poplar seeds floated on the summer breeze, as they did each summer in Moscow, a reminder that winter would come again before too long. Zoya loved strolling through the flurries, watching the white drifts pile up along the curbs and in the gutters, her thrill dampened only by having to visit this abandoned part of the city.
She stepped carefully over broken sections of concrete. Trash and glass littered the yellowed grass and weeds that lined the sidewalk. A sound from the building to her right brought her to a halt. A crash of metal followed by a yelp. A wild dog, she thought. Perhaps a pack. Why did I let Georgy talk me into this?