I started a notebook when I went up to Puckaway this weekend. Figured I'd share some of it with you. This is the most clear passage so far.
Sometimes I’ll just stand out there, observing. Usually very late, very bright for evening, and quiet. A light breeze can tell you the time of year. In spring, it’s a crisp, warm noise. You hear the grasses of the marsh rustling in the distance. In summer, the grass competes with the choruses of peepers. It’s a wet noise then, recent raindrops tumbling from their temporary homes among the trees. In fall, of course, you hear the lazy wanderings of the leaves as they tour the grounds.
It’s winter now, and I hear almost nothing. That’s not to say it’s silent; the little I do hear is of such clarity that I feel aware of my surroundings for miles. My mind floods with images of still serenity. Glistening, frosted marsh grass. The last standing corn fields of the season. A small, frozen stream as it enters a culvert and disappears from the moonlight. I see these things because I can hear them. The grass whispers lightly, but constantly. It’s refusal to be covered by the fresh-fallen snow is accompanied by a refusal to stay silent. The stalks of corn stand straight and still, sentries guarding the fields by night, but their dry leaves rustle in even the slightest breeze, announcing their presence to all within earshot. And the wind howls softly as it follows the flow of the stream into the culvert and disappears from the soft, blue tones of twilight.
Winter has a way of concentrating the senses. The smell and taste of the air is gone, masked by a cold, sharp flavor that heightens alertness. Coldness compromises touch and sensation. Either exposure leads to numbness or layers separate you from your surroundings. Left with only sight and sound, your senses are further filtered and focused by a thick blanket of white that covers the land.
I stand there, observing. Looking and listening. I’m searching, but I don’t know what for.
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