The Hush of Winter

The first real snow arrived here a few days ago, and with it comes the wonderous hush of winter. The distant cars on the roads are suddenly silenced, the woods are still and calm, and the only sound to be heard is one’s own footsteps softly brushing across the covered ground. Many people complain about the cold and snow of the winter season, but as I walked through the six inch deep covering of fluffy, white powder this morning, I have yet to understand why. Sure it takes a little bit longer to get dressed, and we have to carry jugs of water to the barn because the hose is frozen, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When the snows of winter come, it’s as if all the outside world has fallen asleep, and I can feel nature’s hush relaxing me as well. When I walk down the woodland path behind my house, I feel a great sense of peace enhanced by the gentle meolody of my neighbor’s windchimes swaying in a gentle breeze on the other side of the trees. They have the most beautiful sounding windchimes. They sound like buddhust temple chimes instead of ordinary clanging windchimes, and listening to their music while walking in the snowcovered woods is quite litterally magical.

I love the feel of soft snow beneath the sled as I pull this week’s bails of hay from the hayshed to the cow barn. I love the way it eases the difficulty of walking on frozen ground for the animals. Even Sassie the horse, who currently has an abscess on her foot that we’re treating, seems to benefit from the cushion of snow. And lastly, nothing is cozier than coming in from chores with snowcovered boots and standing by the wood stove to warm up.

I think the reason some people dislike the winter is because they don’t appreciate it for what it is. It is a time of slowing down, and a time to relax, and unless it’s treated as such, it can’t be enjoyed. It becomes a pain rather than a joy. Maybe we just need to quiet ourselves this time of the year as well, and follow the example of the hush of winter. My grandfather always said, you have to be outside in a snowstorm to enjoy it, and I couldn’t agree more.