We’re loud. I don’t notice it until we stop to look up at a hawk being bugged by a crow, flying a cursive line over the cliff’s edge along a slate-gray Lake Erie. Without our clomping, snow-crunching strides, the windless air falls into near-perfect silence, save for the ever-present hum of voltage.
My traveling companion and I are walking through the winter wonderland of our neighborhood along the lake. Our city’s snow has made national news. It’s made friends out of neighbors who lend the back-saving work of their snowblowers. It’s made most travel feel unnecessary. It’s closed the mall and canceled events, opening up space in time. It’s unscheduled, unhinged and humbled us, with the not-so-gentle reminder that much of what we think we have to do is actually ours to choose … or not.
It’s made the ordinary streets we walk feel sacred, even for a couple of decidedly ungraceful bipeds wearing Yaktrak-adorned clodhoppers.
This day happens to be our anniversary. We were married in Joshua Tree National Park — a desert landscape that shares much of the stark, silent beauty of our blanketed region.
On that day — a blue moon at the end of 2009 — we commenced our hike on the vista-surrounded Boy Scout Trail in early evening. As the sun set over distant mountains, the moon seemed to rise in a sandy wash, framed by glowy cholla. First glimpse stopped us in our tracks. Silence. Breath. The unmistakable solace of sharing the indescribable with someone you know understands.
Soon moonlight was our lantern. Quiet was our guide. Stillness was our wedding present from the desert.
This year, the full moon falls on New Year’s Day. If the clouds break, what a gloriously white landscape it'll illuminate. Broad and quiet, clean and spare. The perfect blank canvas on which to begin painting a year.
And so, may our brand new calendars remain uncluttered. May our fall-planted bulbs gather strength beneath this heavy snow. May we be flush in seed catalogs. And may we save some space for the wisdom and wonder of winter.