There’s something magical about a cold December night in the North, especially after the evening meal and conversation have come and gone. The hours to follow, to me, are special times to share, or even to be alone in.
A winter evening here is an exceedingly quiet time, often filled with the wonder of being drawn to a window during a gently falling snow. Outside that window the earth has often changed from the gray naked trees and bright white fluff of day to the inky blackness, crystalline stars, and ghostly drifts of shimmering nighttime snow.
Standing still outside on such a night, away from the warmth and sounds of the home, you can see and hear only what the snow wishes you to, and that is not a lot. This winter blanket covers the land, demanding the world’s attention as it hides every earthly detail and muffles every sound.
I once observed that a windless rain landing on the fragile leaves of fall sounds exactly as does bacon frying; interestingly, a windless snow drifting straight down to deepen a pristine blanket formed earlier in the day sounds like nothing at all.
It is a picture of perfect silence, especially at this time of night, and somehow even more so at the edge of a forest or in the bright light of a full and frozen moon.
A solitary walk on such a night reveals much more about this Vermont December evening. Tiny lights twinkle from decorated neighborhood homes. Cars pad down newly softened streets, the red and green traffic lights themselves taking on fresh meaning in this magical month. And, passing homes that stand along the walk, the scents of evergreen branches, evening coffee brewing, and wood fire chimney smoke are simply wonderful.
If you don’t happen to live in our fine state, or if it’s been a while since you’ve visited in winter, I invite you to treat yourself to a truly heartwarming experience that we Vermonters experience every year, and often take for granted. Dress warmly and drive safely when you come up here. Watch out for deer on the road and moose at the tree line. They will not watch out for you.
I wish everyone the peace of this holiday season, the joy of knowing God’s Son, and the experience of at least one Vermont December evening.
(Note: George’s new novel, “Cemetery Bridge” is now available on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback versions. Check it out.)