It is possible to cultivate a silence so entire that you can hear snow fall. Upon itself it is silent, but as it strikes shoulder or tree or brier your ear can pick up its faint rustling: a sound of crinkling Saran Wrap or the slow simmer of water, ticking impact of weightless matter. I sat motionless, my damp jeans absorbing more moisture, watching each minuscule icy fragment hit, then turn transparent and disappear into the weave of fabric or the furrow of knit mitten.
At the bottom of the ravine, the gash of creek was gone, filled with airy snow. Below its mantle, the water had no doubt glazed and hardened, providing a surface to support the snow’s weightlessness. All edges were softened, all furrows filled, fallen sticks and eroded trenches covered and smoothed like frosting. Overdressed in winter gear, I felt no cold. I could stay out here until snow sifted over me like sugar, softening my own edges, making me indistinguishable from the bench I sat upon. I could become a protrusion on a fallen log, a knobby white lump in the spaciousnesss of the woods. How long would it take for someone to think me missing, to search for me in this leveling whiteness, and what would I have become by then?
An urge unrelated to cold finally made me rise and begin my walk back towards the house. Scattered with the snowflakes drifting down were words seeking a white surface, and I stepped through their free fall, anxious to give them shape.