Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

(Photo credit: "Solitude" by David Lorenz Winston)

by Felicia Donovan

Here in the Northeast we have been blanketed by lots of snow. It will indeed be a White Christmas.

The other evening in the midst of yet another snowfall, I bundled up into my gear and headed out to shovel. The snow was light and fluffy, the kind that's easy to push along. The outdoor Christmas lights twinkled between snowflakes.

After I finished shoveling and since I was still nice and warm from the physical effort, I brought the dogs outside to romp around. It was fairly late in the evening but I knew there was one place I had to go. I walked towards the woods.

I stood in the middle of the woods and remained still for a long time listening to the sound of the snow as it gently fell through the trees. There is a particular sound it makes almost like a tinkling of bells as it glides down. There is that and silence - an unbelievable silence marked by stillness and solitude.

Our everyday lives are so filled with noise and bustle that we sometimes forget what silence sounds like. Many of us live dual lives as writers who still work "day" jobs. Many of us balance hectic schedules and fight deadlines that suck the life out of us. Some of us juggle all that with the added stress of caring for families. But whenever I'm pushed to my limit, I remember the woods on a snowy evening. I remember that there are places I can go to that are quiet and still.

Things happen out there. In the lack of man's presence, the woods become a playground to animals who explore its pristine paths. The snow brings much needed shelter to animals who hunker down against raging storms. The moonlight shines across open fields and casts shadows between trees. But most of all, there is peace.

My wish to all of you this Holiday season is that you find your own snowy woods to stop by. With much gratitude to you all, I wish you peace...


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I can almost hear the silence. Thank you, Felicia, for such a lovely, thoughtful, and tranquil post. It almost made me want to hop a plane to New Hampshire.

When I lived in the East many years ago, one of my favorite things was bundling up and taking a walk at night while it snowed. The silence of the snowfall and the delightful crunch of my boots made me forget for a while how much I dislike the cold.

Nina Wright said...

Thanks, Felicia, for reminding us of Peace in this time of flurry and scurry.

And for pointing out that falling snow has its own sweet sound, "like a tinkling of bells." Ahhh.

P.S. The David Lorenz Winston print was a perfect choice.

Joe Moore said...

Beautiful post, Felicia. We don’t have snowflakes falling like the “tinkling of bells” in South Florida. Usually it’s the swishing of palm frowns and the squawk of Quaker parrots. But there is a heavily wooded park near our home. It has a paved trail that winds through tall pines, palmetto, Florida holly, and oaks for about a mile. My wife and I go there everyday to fast-walk for our exercise. There are many times when all we hear is the call of a distant hawk or the wind through the tree canopy. Almost every day we see fox, squirrels, raccoons, herons, and other wildlife, During those moments of nature’s ambiance, we try to appreciate the same “stop and smell the roses” philosophy you so eloquently expressed in your post. Thanks for confirming that it’s well worth the trouble to stop in the woods.

Candy Calvert said...

Wonderful, Felicia. Your post brought back memories of winter weekends spent at Lake Tahoe.
Once, when my children were still very small, we got snowed in at our cabin for 5 days. We watched the icicles grow on the windows, and the rising snow shrink our view to a mere squint. We played board games, created surprise "can" dinners, burned countless oak logs in the fireplace, laughed, and just plain hunkered down together. The peace and warmth of those frozen days remain one of my fondest memories.

Mark Combes said...

Grasp those moments of pleasure wherever and whenever they occur.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Felicia, as I type, my dogs are outside barking at deer. It's their FAVORITE activity. And the deer? They LAUGH at the dogs. Honest to Pete, the deer stand there and watch the dogs go nuts.

So there's no silence, just a whole lot of barking going on. For me, the silence is in my car. And yes, when the dogs come in and fall fast asleep after a strenuous morning of protecting their home.

G.M. Malliet said...

Amen to that.

It's 50 degrees here in the mid-Atlantic - no sign of snow so far this year - and I do miss it, especially after reading this post.

Felicia Donovan said...

Joanna, my dogs spotted a buck about a week ago and like yours, went crazy while the buck took its time moving away. Same with the coyote that showed up two summers ago. For the most part, the animals in the woods know their place (but that's a topic for another blog when they don't).

Sue Ann, it's not THAT cold! You're a born New Englander, for cripes sakes. Come on, Girlfriend, put on your Beaners and git back over here.

Nina, I agree that David Lorenz Wilson print is one of my favorites.

Joe, it doesn't really matter whether it's the woods of NH or the woods of FL. It just matters that you stop and enjoy the tranquility they offer.

Candy, oh how I'd love to be snowed in! Must have been such fun.

Thanks, Mark. Yes, it's all about living in the moment, isn't it?

Gin, if you want, I'll package some of the snow up and send it your way.

Keith Raffel said...

If it's all the same with you, I'll stick to the boring crisp 50+ degree sunny days of the S.F. Bay Area. Happy holidays!

jbstanley said...

Thanks for those gorgeous photographs and your insightful words. Just staring at that tree image allowed me to forget the hub-bub and craziness for a moment. Now, if I could only remember what I did with my credit card...(I haven't seen it since I used it at the bagel store) OK, back to staring at the tree. Happy Holidays, FD!