White Noise

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White Noise

Ever notice that white noise

generating machines never include the sound

of snow falling?

Rainfall and river over rocks,

but no quietly falling flakes?

Ha! You laugh,

Of course not, there isn’t such a thing

as the sound of snow falling,

like zero is the absence of a whole number.

It’s completely silent and therefore

unrecordable.

The problem lies in creating the kind of silence

caused by falling snow.

The pure white noise of nothing–

the insulation of everything,

the way it falls early on a Sunday morning

while everyone sleeps in

and the roads are empty of traffic.

The way it sounds to be out in the yard

in the dark

under the stars

while all of nature and all of mankind’s achievements

are buried.

Perhaps I should be more specific, for in the north

where people have snowmobiles

to break the silence

In the south in the morning

when it snows there are no machines

like snowblowers and high powered craft

for joy-riding.

The sound of snowfall here is a return to a time

before small engines and trucks with

scraping blades and salt to exfoliate that which

deadens and muffles and encases.

A time when people celebrate with

logs in the fireplace burning

and soup on the stove or tea from the kettle

and send children out to play.

Ah, the silent house of simmering broth

and flames aglow.

Of course there is also a need for some to go to work,

but since most everything here is cancelled,

the city rests.

Much later, crawling out from under blankets,

neighbors come out with cups of coffee

while kids in snowpants have been making

a day of sledding on the barest covering

until the few inches of white vanish in the

three o’clock sun.

For a moment nothing but the whitest of white noise

is heard,

not a noise but an absence

of sound loud enough to wake me up

to the pause it brings.

A moment of quiet awareness to recognize

myself in the midst of a busy, noisy life

suspended,

breathing in cold air and exhaling clouds,

awake in the midst of falling silent snow,

awake.

 

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