Hushed

December 07, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHTALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHTAmidst vibrant colors everywhere on the grounds, this little vignette - illuminated with only white light - was quietly beautiful in a completely different way.

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Lisle, Illinois
Step outside on a calm, snowy night while light, fluffy flakes are falling and you'll hear...nothing. (Assuming you live outside of the city!) Back in New Hampshire, I'd often pause while clearing the driveway and just stand there, soaking in the absolute quiet.

Snow absorbs sound because it's porous. Each snowflake is a six-sided crystal filled with open spaces which trap and absorb sound waves. Once a few inches has fallen, it's as if a huge damper has been placed over the landscape.

The effect doesn't last, of course. As the snow begins to melt, it loses its ability to muffle sound.

While it's happening, though, it's magical enough to make me forget - at least for a little bit - that I've got to clear the pavement. I'm enraptured by the tranquility and the absolute stillness; the impact is most profound at night. 

Watching the snow as it falls, I can almost hear the flakes softly coming to rest on the beautiful, pristine blanket below. This is serenity.

The driveway can wait a minute.

I thought of this the other day when I was reminded of a poem written by Robert Frost - a man with deep ties to New Hampshire. You'll find it in a volume of his work for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. (New Hampshire, published in 1923; 1924 Pulitzer Prize)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep  
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

 

In Local News

Snow has been falling in the Tetons; 30 inches came down over last weekend with the next wave expected to begin today. Grand Targhee now has about 32 inches groomed at the summit (93 inches season-to-date); Jackson Hole is reporting 38 inches at the summit. 

Ski in Jeans weekend at Jackson Hole resort begins tomorrow; on Saturday they'll attempt to break the world's record for the most people skiing and riding in jeans. Locals, be advised Saturday's $25 lift tickets are sold out. There are still discounted tickets available for Friday and Sunday.

Grand Teton National Park biologists are reminding visitors to give wildlife plenty of space over the winter. This is an especially challenging time of year for the animals. Respect all winter closures, including bighorn sheep winter zones. 


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