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Do You Hear What I Hear?

December 21, 2010

I drove home yesterday afternoon surrounded by the sound of car honks, tires skidding on ice, and police sirens echoing passed me.  Cars lined up on the highway bumper against bumper, and I inched my way home via momentary releases of my brake pedal.  The first real snowfall of our winter wasn’t a pleasant one, and the attitude I had once I got home rivaled the  harsh weather conditions outside.  I was on edge, tired, and irrational.  I could think of nothing positive to say about the freshly fallen snow, except that it was supposed to let up sometime later that evening.

The snow was still falling after my husband and I ate dinner.  He went out to shovel our drive and scrape the cars and I thought surely, surely that would be the only shoveling necessary for the night.  Two hours later, it was still snowing.  Awesome.  Determined to have as little snow as possible to scrape off my car at 6am the next morning, I strapped on my boots and headed out for my turn with the ice pick.

When I first walked outside, I did not initially stop to notice my surroundings.  I did not stop to notice the quiet, or the flakes falling like pixie dust from the sky.  I just walked to my car and started picking away at the ice and brushing off the windshield, griping to myself as dense snow seeped its way into my boots.  While hacking away I realized almost twenty minutes had gone by without one car driving down my busy street.  I paused, put down my scraper, and walked right into the center of the road.

For the first time all evening I looked around.  Colored Christmas lights poked out from beneath snow, creating a subtle iridescent glow on my neighbor’s bushes and trees.  The red flags of mailboxes dotted the sidewalks, making it look like a scene from Santa’s Village.  Snowflakes fell passed the bulbs of street lamps like dust passing by a flashlight.  My boots crunched against the wet snow on the ground, but that was the only noise I could hear.  My street had wrapped me up in a little snow blanket, and had muffled every sound from outside, from the day, from my own personal chaos.  I stood in the street, feeling snow catch on my eyelashes, and listening to the silence of this winter moment.  I had almost been moving too fast to catch it.  The noises of the day were almost too loud to hear the quiet.

I stood there until my toes were numb, just watching as the clouds sifted their sugary white flurries out onto the street.  I stood and I listened, relishing the opportunity to pause and notice the world shutting out.  Perhaps this is where we find the spirit of the season everyone always talks about.  On a frigid December night, in the middle of the street, when the sound of the snow is quiet enough to overpower everything else.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 8:43 pm

    I love this, Lauren! You describe the silence of snow falling perfectly.

  2. December 21, 2010 10:54 pm

    “I had almost been moving too fast to catch it. The noises of the day were almost too loud to hear the quiet.”

    The battle of my life, incredibly well put.

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