Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowy Sounds

A couple days ago approximately eight inches of snow fell here in southeast Michigan. That's enough snow to reasonably call a Snow Day. And since all it takes these days to call a Snow Day is the mere threat of eight inches of snow, actually receiving eight inches of snow gave the kids a Snow Day. So, when will they get out for summer? Around August 1st? But never mind the kids. They were all still in bed when Lois and I hit the driveway.

You may wonder, when does a dog walker walk her own dog? Well, this dog walker walks her dog first thing in the morning. Which explains why Lois and I were digging a path from the back door to the gate in the Monday morning dark. Once I dug the snow out surrounding the gate allowing exit from the backyard, I figured I might as well dig a path for my husband, The Handsome One's truck. My vehicle was safely tucked in the garage but the truck sat in the driveway covered with a thick pristine sparkly white. By the time I reached the truck's rear view mirror, I was on a roll so I kept shovelling towards the porch. (Fun fact: I am a back door gal. THO is a front door guy. Just goes to show- opposites attract.)

As I labored with the shovel, all around me was the amazing sound of snow. The stillness of it. The peaceful perfection of it. Somehow it mutes ordinary sound while at the same time, acoustically enhances it. The indistinct drone of a neighbor's voice over grass becomes clearly audible words over snow.

Two doors down a man ran a snow blower. Three doors down in the other direction that woman who never makes eye contact scurried around her little car. The snow blower was silent for a minute or two. Then like a bell, a single word exploded through the morning. "F*ck!" This was followed by silence and more of that calm stillness. Then the snow blower man took up a shovel and steady rhythmic scraping against concrete punctuated the calm.

This brings to mind other snowy sounds of note: "shrunch shrunch" is the sound of boots on packed snow at twenty degrees. "Shrork shork" is the sound boots make when it is ten degrees. At thirty-three degrees, a snowball striking a big dog's flank goes, "pthumptf".

Lois waited patiently while I shovelled. She stood inside the gate watching me and watching for the rabbit that seems to live under the tree stump near the driveway. We see the rabbit more often in winter. His gray-brown fur is easy to spot against a white back drop. When he moves through the snow the sound is a faint "zsit zsitp".

More on the bunny, later.


  1. Ah, yes... the sounds of winter. A footstep is completely different at cold temperatures then it is at freezing.

    Snowball hitting a big dog's flank, hmmm? Was it accidental, hitting the dog instead of THO?

  2. I have a very accurate arm.

    Let's just say the dog is less responsive when struck on the flank then THO is!

  3. Enjoyed your descriptions of sounds. Brought me into your ice cold world from my 85 degree day out here in the desert. Love it.