The Sound of Snow Falling
The Sanctity of Silence

"It is December's gift.

"Whole clouds of it fell last night. Started with a flake or two, barely noticed, in the gray of afternoon. By dinnertime, the boughs, the walks, the feeders for the birds, had lost their definition, were taking on a girth that might have made them groan.

"Except the world was wordless.

"The world, when I slipped on my snow-exploring shoes, zipped up my puffy coat, was so silenced by the spilling from the sky, I could, without straining, make out the sound of snow falling.

"It's a sound, quite truly, that makes your ears perk up. And your soul, too.

"Unlike the pit-a-pat of rain, it is wholly unexpected. Wind we know is noisy. Humidity, except for moaning of the ones who find it hard to bear, is not. But that comes as no surprise.

"The sound of snow falling, then, is singularly soothing and startling. It is a titillation for the ears, a tickling of the nerves that makes them stand at full attention.

"A sound not heard so often, certainly not in months and months, it came like water to a thirsty traveler. And I could not get enough.

"There is a stillness in the first of every winter's snow that feels to me like coming home. It is in that unrippled place, that place where quiet is complete and whole, that I, and maybe you, feel as if the hand of God is reaching down, is showing me the way through snowy woods.

"Sometimes, too, I think I hear the sound of God, putting gentle finger to soft lips, shushing.

"Shhhhhhh, I hear God say. Be still.

"What else, I wonder, could slow a world that can't move fast enough? Who else can keep the cars off the road? The cell phones from incessant baying?

"There was not a soul outside last night, not when I was there at least, and I was there for quite a while.

"This morning, then, is quiet squared.

"Not even snow is making sound.

It is December's gift, this early snow. It is just in time to serve its highest purpose. To shush a world in full staccato. To make us perk our ears, to see if, this blessed day, we might hear the song of snow falling."