Unexpected as I drove north and westward from my seaside community where we have only frozen, bare, gray ground this day after Christmas, 2017, the sight of snow surprised me.
A hike was in order to clear away any holiday inner controversy or cookie clutter. And so we set out once again, Mr. McMonocle and I to meet with fellow hikers of like mind and ambition. On to West Greenwich the posting read, we’ll all meet and hike through the woods; five or six miles or so, enjoy the crisp winter air, the walk, the woods, and the comraderie of each other.
No waiting around in the parking lot, it read; too cold for standing still, lolligagging or latecomers.
I, of course, had an early start. My Global Positioning System was spot on in delivering me precisely to,
where? A four way intersection on a rural road with a flashing traffic light? Checking the address once again, I righted my way and was directed five miles along a heavily wooded, winding country road to a residential cul-de-sac right smack dab in the middle of nowhere. There was no trailhead to be found here. Start time for the aforementioned party now, I rechecked the address and was directed by GPS to drive West for one quarter mile then stop. I drove right on past where GPS said to stop, used OFCS (Old Fashioned Common Sense) and arrived about seven or eight minutes late for my fellow hiker’s start time. Hmmmph! They’d already left.
I messaged the group to alert them that I was there and started out on my own hoping to catch up with them eventually. A moment later I received a call from another hiker who’s GPS was as confused as mine had been. I gave her brief directions to where I was, she caught up and off we went through the woods, along a beautiful bubbling brook and a fabulously frozen pond. How delightful! Anywhere near the ocean these days, a frozen pond is an infrequent sighting.
We began, finding the freshly fallen snow still clinging ever so softly to the fir tree as we wound our way along a narrow footpath, part of the trail that we’d randomly chosen.
As we brushed past the lightly dusted needles, our movement created pristine snow globe like swirls of crystalline clouds in the air around us as we tread.
To my delight the snow hadn’t yet fallen off the leaves of the rhododendron, the limbs and pine needles of downed evergreens. The mere unblemished newness of it gave an overwhelming sense that here again was a brand new day to behold.
Silence was the sound of the snow. There is something unearthly, wonderfully peaceful to it’s sudden silence. This may be this wondrous element of nature’s finest quality. As it falls and as it rests I hear the sanctity of seldom sought silence. With lifelong tinnitus, when it snows, I hear spotless, snowy silence, much like that of the cherished, salient silence of sunshine.
As a Southern New Englander, I confess, I may be marginally maniacal for not dreading the snow. Perhaps come March, I will indeed be quite the weary winter writer. But for the day after Christmas, 2017, the snow on our brisque hike through wood and over dale, was wholly nothing less than ideal.