Â â€œOnce upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.â€
It was not yet five p.m. Winterâ€™s darkness, however, had already teased the stars until they glowed with impatient light. As my husband and I walked hand in hand down the country road, our dog, Booker, stretched his leash as far as possible. He needed to check all-important â€œpee-mailsâ€ left in invisible squiggly yellow spurts. How he could tell which were new and worthy of answering with a spritz of his own remained a mystery.
I looked at the trees leaning against the horizon, and admired the black arched and pointed silhouettes. The smell of wood smoke came to us for a moment and then retreated as though too shy to linger. It was a quiet night. Too quiet, I thought, for the mosaic of beauty above and below the skyline.
â€œAs lovely as these evenings are,â€ I said, â€œI miss hearing bird song.â€
My husband stopped walking and thoughtfully listened for a few seconds. â€œI rather like the silence of winter,â€ he said. â€œThe world, for the most part, has too much noise.â€
Singing versus silence. I wondered about our differences as we resumed our trek towards home. He had grown up a child of the city, whereas I grew my tap root deep in the soil of rural Minnesota.
He told me that one of his favorite childhood winter games was to wait for a slow-moving car, grab the bumper, and then get pulled along like a water skier for a stretch of the neighborhood. “Your mom was okay with that?” I asked. Â “Sure, we all did it.” Â Yikes.
My childhood winter fun, on the other hand, consisted of sitting on a wooden toboggan pulled by one of our horses. Â There weren’t any hills on our farm, so we made do with a field and horsepower.Â (I guess we both found ways to have fun, and we both had to deal with fumes, so to speak.)
He grew up with the sounds of traffic bouncing off of manmade landscapes, and I grew up with the sounds of nature practicing its harmonizing skills.
Now that we are both older, closer to our endings than beginnings, I tolerate winterâ€™s silence with begrudging respect. I understand it is a necessary period of incubation, but yearn for the sounds of life.
My husband, however, embraces the stillness as a form of refuge. More and more he tells me he wearies of places filled with overlapping conversations, of music that is chaotic, of movies filled with explosions.
I wonder about our differences on this winter night, and walk silently into our forever after.