Monday, January 13, 2003

Nothing Cold Can Stay

For a week it's been below freezing. The cold makes it dry. A sharp nasal inhale becomes a painful act, like snorting liquid nitrogen; mouthbreathers suffer sore tonsils and ragged coughs.

It has snowed a little every night, less than an inch each night added to the raised platform that has become the world, three feet above the paved people pathways, and the lack of humidity in the air makes for the dryest snowflakes. They are like the air through which they fall: light on the chill wind, easily picked up again from the packed-ice path to our door. Misleading towers of snow topple when brushed by an errant pantleg to reveal their true selves, swollen with air and not much else. It's the sort of snow that's squeaky when you walk on it, loud enough that one assumes naturally that one's movements can be heard from a long way off.

But the snow dampens sound, muffles footsteps, covers branches from the whip of the wind. Winter's quiet comes with the first snow that stays, and lasts until Spring thaw. It comes from living beings huddled in buildings and nests and undergroung waiting for warmer days; it comes from the lack of places to go. Until then, the world is silent.

Except when walking through it breaks its silence.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:14 AM |

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