I left the woods, spreading silence before me in a wave, as though I'd stepped not through the forest but on it. I left the wood silent, but I myself was stirred and quickened. I'll go to the Northwest Territories, I thought, Finland.
Walking through the woods. Dillard experiences a stunning silence, as if her mere presence turned down the volume knob on the world. No birds chittering. No winds bansheeing through the trees. Yet, something moves in her. Through the quiet, she feels an urge to keep going. Walk and walk and walk. Through mountains. Over tundra and glacier. To Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Mount Nirvana. All the way to Helsinki.
I have experienced that kind of silence. In a snow storm. Rising early to shovel my driveway. The whole world is muffled, as if encased in thick cotton batting. I used to love weather like that. My older sister and I would pile into her Dodge Aspen and go plowing through the streets. That early, nothing's moving. No cars. No people. No dogs or skunks. No paper carriers.
There's a blizzard brewing in the middle of the United States right now, and it's headed straight toward the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This Saturday, the forecast is for 60 mile per hour winds and snow. Depending on who you believe, there's going to be between 0.1 and 11 inches of white stuff on the ground by the time it's all over.
I am not looking forward to this little weather event, silence notwithstanding. In fact, I was hoping for a green Thanksgiving. I used to love winter. It was my favorite time of the year. Loved the cold and dark and wind and ice. And that winter silence, when the whole world seems cryogenic.
Now, I'm more of a summer guy, I prefer heat waves to blizzards. I think it has something to do with age. When I was younger, bad winter weather meant I got to sleep in and listen to Billy Joel and Quiet Riot mix tapes. Now that I'm a husband and father, bad weather means I have to get up even earlier than normal. It means over an hour of back-killing work with a snow shovel. Then a treacherous drive down U. S. 41 to get to my office. There are no snow days when you're an adult.
So, I'm not excited about this weekend's weather forecast. The only good thing--it's happening on a Saturday, when I don't have to worry about getting my car into the street or driving through a white tornado.
Saint Marty supposes he can be thankful for that tonight.