a hushed run

this evening, about an hour after sunset, i went for a run. no biggie, right? how about if it was below freezing, snowing at a good rate, the wind was blowing and you could hardly open your eyes. doesn’t sound so lovely, does it.

here is the thing: it was one of the most lovely things i’ve experienced in while.*

it is hard to describe for those who have not experienced this kind of loveliness.

this kind of captures it:

[update: pix at end of Jan 27 snowfall event!]

here is some context: for the last two decades, my hometown has averaged 180″ of snow a year. the northeastern portion of the county that i grew up in has experienced ungodly, but lovely, amounts of snow over 1, 2, and 4 days [not to mention average annual snowfall]. see these pictures. you will not believe them. snow isn’t really a biggie until it hits about 12-18″ overnight.

this year, NYC is experiencing what i think of as a real winter: they are about to break their all-time record [if they haven’t already]. it is like the 1970s all over again.

it is lovely.

i grew up 6 miles outside of a small town of 12,000 people. we had 100 acres and not too many neighbors. at night, it was dark. winter nights seemed even darker. i was outside a lot of those night sliding, aka sledding, down the back hill or playing something outside. during one particular year we built this cool show house.

not a fort or igloo or anything like that. it was carved into a 7 foot snow drift and had an entrance and 3 rooms that branched off of the main room. the main room was mostly open to the front. we stacked snow blocks across the front, so it might have been more like a porch on a hotel room. it was really groovy in the rooms – warm even. and, we cut out personalized seats into the walls.

warm, cozy bliss.

while out jogging tonight, or yogging, it might be pronounced with a soft ‘y’, these memories came back. blinding snow, a freezing face. darkness. the fresh 2″ of snow cushioned my feet and hushed sound. for once, the NYC metro area was quiet. even though it was well past sunset, the brightness of the snow lit up the understory in the heavily-treed and famously-populated neighborhood next to my lab. it looked lovely.

it was dark, cold and quiet like those years back on the farm.

they say you cannot go home. i’ve had enough experiences to know that, technically, it is mostly true. but, if you squint your eyes in the face of a cold and blinding snowsquall, open your other senses and use your imagination, you might find yourself home.

*[well, not true, i’ve been getting into some lovely data as of late!]

winter scenes, NYC metro, 2011:


Jan 27, 2011 snowfall event – ~ 8″




2 thoughts on “a hushed run

  1. Anne Nichols

    How funny. I remember our snow forts being warm too. Do you think they really were? I was wondering that today as I built an igloo for my children.

    It seems like the older I get, the more I love the cold weather. I know the opposite is true of most people. I could relate to everything you wrote about. There is a peace that only a blanket of snow can bring, as it muffles all the everyday sounds. I love it.

    I may winter in the mountains some day :)))


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