The sounds of winter…

February 9, 2011

The past month has presented us New Englanders with round after round of often spectacular snowstorms.  While I have shared lots of photos, something I have never mentioned is the sounds of winter.  One of my very favorite sounds of all is the middle-of-the-night sound of the snow plow’s hushed first pass through a big snow storm…so much snow that the plow blade is nowhere near the street…a portent of things to come (for little kids, no school announcements; for the grown-ups, no work!).

We live in a family neighborhood of houses which all back onto various preservation areas…we are all interspersed with little woods.  When it snows, the whole world sounds muffled…believe it or not, you can HEAR snow fall.  Cars driving by make a distinctive hushed, slightly crunchy sound.  The sound of the snowplow scraping by on its rounds…we live on a corner, so we get lots of snowplow action as they plow out stop signs and corners…then the neighbors start up their snowblowers and you hear the distinctive thud of the flying snow and ice landing on snow and ice.  When the sun comes out (in between the oh-so-many snow storms we’ve had), there is the drip drip drip of melting icicles and the schussing of snow and ice down sloping roofs and skylights.

As I drive, there’s the crunch of new-fallen snow or the swish of wet, salty/sandy grit under my tires.  The occasional thump-thump of an early-season pothole; the sliding sound (or lack of sound) as my car snow- or ice-planes; the thwack of clumps of snow that fly off other cars onto mine; the squeak of the windshield wiper as it attempts to clear the grungy mess from my windshield.

And walking during and after snow storms…the crunch and squeak of newfallen snow under my feet, breaking through the ice crust into the soft snow below, the thud of snow clumps falling from trees…mmm…

OK, OK…this is a silly, sappy ode to another aspect of winter…means nothing except that I couldn’t get out of my head how amazing all our senses are and how we sometimes tune out the sounds around us…very soothing to stop and listen now and then.

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One Response to “The sounds of winter…”

  1. ragtopday Says:

    This is really beautiful. I know all the sounds you mention, and as much as I dislike what snow means for me personally, I do love the sounds. So hushed, so peaceful.


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