Snow Silence in Summer Places

This weekend held so many different sorts of silence for me - it was almost overwhelming. I find myself sort of frenzied and confused when I find myself with big chunks of time to myself - what should I do first? Should I catch up on some magazine reading? exercise, meditation, nap, great movie, solitary walk....? All appealing options, and I'm happy to report I indulged in most of them for the two days my husband and I dashed away to Newport RI before the blizzard. I was nervous to leave, but fortunately, my husband did not lose sight of the feasibility of the trip, and the little inn was equipped with a fireplace.

When the kids are well looked after by loving family, and I'm in a familiar place of my past (Newport) the silence I'm afforded is immense. This time, we were joined by great old friends to celebrate a big birthday and tromp around in the snow together. What I learned again, is that the silence of being in a familiar place, but in unique and unfamiliar circumstances, has an amazing effect on the entire experience. Newport is usually a place we visit in the summer, and most of the time with kids. To view the seaside wharfs wrapped in wind and snow added so much to my love of the place. There is always a remarkable and lasting silence when snow has settled in inches on the ground, but the ocean adds an entirely different, almost timeless mystique. The change asks me to be more aware, and to pay more attention to my surroundings. I think this must be why I crave travel and new adventure. It's not the new place or experience that is providing me something, but the fact that I am paying attention is providing me an awareness - a foothold in the present moment. And this is what brings me a simple peace. Being in the moment.

And then of course, there is a certain silence that is so welcome for parents, when they step away from the energy of their children - briefly. Our conversations were uninterrupted, our rhythms our own. The "mom" and "dad" peel away and the selves that met so long ago, get some much needed time to catch up. When I return home, I will remember to visit some favorite places with the kids, off-season. There is an arboretum that we frequent often, during all seasons, but only once in the winter. I'll include pictures in the next post....

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath