Spring brings a chorus of migrating birds, loggers cutting down trees with their chainsaws in the nearby valleys, or thunder and lightning storms. Summer is full of laughter, and dirt bikes on the forest service roads. My neighbor opens her doors and windows when she plays the piano. There’s rarely a quiet time in the fall when everyone works day and night to get ready for the long winter ahead: tires to be rotated on the truck, harvesting of apples and berries, stacking wood for the woodstove, pruning of bushes and grasses, or a final wash of the windows that won’t get done again until spring.
The first big snowfall of the season can be a special time. If the temperatures are particularly cold, like they are today, the snowshoe hares, the chipmunks and squirrels, the pileated woodpeckers, our visiting deer, and wild turkey, along with the other birds that stick around for the winter, are sheltered in a nook of a tree, under a canopy of spruce boughs, or burrowed in the warmer earth under the snow. Humans stay inside heated homes.
The absence of bird songs, squirrel chirrups, human chatter, and other activity is silence. Different from the rest of the year.
For most of my life, the transition from late fall to winter has almost always been when the big snowfall arrives. But it may be more about the silence. The definition of snow is atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in light, white flakes, or laying on the ground in a layer of white. But I think for me the definition of snow is the absence of sound. Stillness. A time in which I reflect and find comfort in a more solitary time of writing quietly for hours and hours while the snow falls outside. Everything quiet. At rest. Calm. Silent.
It’s white and swift and falls in sheets
covering the earth, obliterating
the tractor scars and the memory
of us laughing on the back deck
overjoyed to see you
after years away. We sat drinking
lemonade bathed in the light
of the late afternoon sun
a beautiful green sea of wild grasses
swaying in the wind
like a million dancing ballerinas.
Now I am alone
looking out the window at the distant hills
blanketed by layers of snow
white icing on a cake
cold as an Artic winter
remembering your smile that somehow
makes people want to dance
and comforts me
when I see you again.
How did you find solace this week?
© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved