Monday, December 03, 2007

The Zen of Snow

If only you could hear
the sound of snow . . .
Hakuin Eraku

In my childhood, we used to call days like this one "snow days", and they often meant that we were granted a day's reprieve from school. Snow days were a common winter happening here in the north, and obviously they are still very much a part of our lives in season, although my school days (in the usual sense of the expression) are long gone.

On days like this, one awakens to discover a world of blue and white below and skies of opalescent gray above. Village and countryside are brand new squeaky clean realms on snow days, the sombre detritus of late autumn gracefully concealed, the dark outlines of home and field and garden gently rounded under an abundance of fresh whiteness.

This morning, when I drew the draperies open at dawn, I discovered to my pleasure that over a foot of frozen precipitation had fallen during the night. Beyond the windows this morning is a world of naturally distilled magic and gentle stillness, a world so hushed and quiet that one really can hear the snow falling among the trees.

Of course, I still have to shovel the white stuff out of the way, and I may feel differently in an hour or two, but somehow or other, I doubt it. There is something engaging and very Zen about the rhythm of snow removal, the effortless (at least in the beginning) flowing motion of arm and shovel working together in harmony, the perfect arc of the snow as it rises and falls and comes to rest beyond the cobblestones.


Lil said...

Yes! Yes! YES!!

It's not often that you hear me cursing this wonderful snow in my house. I don't care about shoveling it (but most times Tom does because of my weak back), I don't mind driving in it, I tread carefully anyway because of my wee package in the back, and I certainly don't mind playing in it, especially now the my daughter is old enough to do so!

Yesterday, in the early, early morning hush of the fallen snow, you could hear a little girl's voice shouting "Daddy? Can we go outside to make snowangels??" Cate, this is the many gifts that snow brings me...

peace and shakin' the tree,

ps. any decision about the moon picture??

Anonymous said...

Wow, even though I'm out west now (Arizona), this beautiful post suddenly made me *remember* the sound of snowfall back in New Jersey. I wonder how our auditory memory works like that! It's sort of a gentle crystal "whooshing" sound.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :-)

z-silverlight said...

I've heard the sound of snow many times. If it'wet, it goes: pli pli.
If dry and crunchy, it goes: sh-sh.