One of Winter's semi-penultimate gasps covered everything with inches of snow:
the mud of Warmth's first stretchings after long sleep,
evergreen needles and bare birch branches,
dog-pee roadsigns and tiny, timid, animal tracks,
rough ruts from all-weather tires, frozen like canyons out west.
The quiet in the early morning woods during is palpable,
I could palp, or palpate, it if I had a free hand; I don't,
because the dogs are taking me for a walk, or it may be the other way around.
I push my hearing up and out and away from me,
listening for anything not covered or softened by the snow.
A crow's flight between the tops of the trees brings a soft whooshing to our ears.
A meringue of snow from some overloaded branch whispers as it comes to land in front of us.
The dogs' soft pads squeak as they dance over the new, dry, snow.
The loudest thing my ears find to grab is the dull hum of a transformer on a pole far away;
I feel hugged by the soundlessness,
stunned and enervated by the space it offers me,
to speak, to sing, to think quiet or riotous thoughts.
I could be the last man on Earth,
alone with snow and cold and dogs and the promise of space and peace and quiet.
I don't know where the ideas, the dreams, come from ...
out of the new-fallen snow, like springtails, just seeming to appear,
or emboldened by the stillness, made brave, even foolhardy, and finally breaking cover.
The dogs and my brain bound and bounce,
sniffing and snuffling at the snow and sky and silence,
who knows what they, or I, will find ,
to taste and savor and bring home,
or spit out and bury under white nothing
... in any case, it's a nice way to spend a quiet morning.