Silence covered the earth in the night. It fell from the sky ever so gently, ever so quietly while I was sleeping. Its snowy flakes covered the ground like a blanket. Without a sound, it handed out shawls to the trees and shrubs to wrap around their shoulders. I tried to emulate it on quiet feet, tiptoeing to my chair beside the window. Wrapping myself in my own quilt I gazed into the dawn of silence. I have the circadian rhythm of a teacher, and it will not be altered by an early morning phone call allowing me to stay in bed. No bother… it is my favorite part of a snow day, before the first tire track or footprint. Before sleds and cocoa. Before the noise of the day. I sit and I watch stillness descend.
Above the trees it is pinkish with the reflection of the dawn on the overcast sky. Tiny pieces of silence are still tumbling down, thickening the cover on the ground. The boughs of the trees have white nests in them as if there are special birds that only appear on snow days. I imagine what these snow birds would look like swooping down on wings with hushed silvery feathers and a snowy white back. In this quiet world they would almost be invisible, if they existed outside my imagination.
The trees lift their arms as if reaching for more snow. They celebrate in complete stillness so as to not break the spell silence has cast. The black lines of their branches, topped with white edges create a pin and ink of breathtaking beauty. There is a difference between the icy storm of last week and the fluffy white one of today. Ice is noisy…as it falls, as it breaks branches, as it twists and forces trunks to bend to its force. Snow is gentle. It is silent when caresses, and nurtures, and blankets the forest. It tucks itself in around the edges and over the grass. It is a cocoon which conceals the transformation that silence is weaving under the surface. The calm outside my window finds its way into my soul. The peacefulness inclines my ear to listen and my heart to reflect on the words “washed whiter than snow.”
The morning light causes the white outside my window to glow now. The landscape looks entirely different draped in the simplicity of a white sweater. It is clean. It is crisp. It is beautiful. And all of this was done in the dark in silence. I allow that to sink in. The whiter-than-snow words take root in my heart, they seep into it, cleansing as they do their hushed sacred work. Under their covering, life flows. I lift not a finger, and yet I am clean. I hear not a sound, and yet life moves within. It resides inside, even while it covers. It does not come from me… it surrounds me…like a cocoon or a seed in the snow covered ground. A seed which receives nourishment in the stillness of winter so that it can burst forth in its season. The work is done deep, while I sleep…in the silence.
Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be washed whiter than snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. Is. 1:18