It looks as though we may be in for a cold and snowy winter season. I’m sure that some of you are smiling and cheering but I am equally sure that there are plenty in my camp of winter endurers. I believe that I have mentioned before some of the litany of why I am not a fan of winter – there is the cold, the snow, the slush, the cold, salt everywhere, exponentially bad driving and the cold. Did I mention the cold? I am also worn down by the monochromatic vistas – wonderfully dotted with Christmas decorations for the next couple of weeks.
But I digress. There is one thing about winter that pleases me, which I rediscover every year. This thing that quietly delights me is the quality of the sound when there is a blanket of snow on the ground. The snow brings a silence that is very welcome in this time of electronic beeps, dings, trills, buzzes, and tweets. Nature has many methods of redirecting our attention to joys it has to offer.
Looking for a means to soothe your hectic pre-Christmas day, go out into your backyard for a few minutes to commune with the quality of sound. Softer sounds are muffled as the snow acts as natural baffles and round out many noises. Sharp sounds crack, shattering the brittle cold air but are quickly replaced with that enveloping silence.
To get the full effect it is best to get to a park or nature preserve or any tract which is populated more by trees than the constructs of humans, but it isn’t entirely necessary. Especially after dark. Your backyard will do nicely. If you haven’t taken the time to experience the way that snow changes sounds since childhood, I suggest that it is high time that you do so.
The crunch as you break through the crust of the snow, the sound of your own breath, the rustle of small animals, and the creaks and cracks of trees shifting under the weight of the snow. These are the little gifts of winter.
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