The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 13, 2002


Sounds of winter

We all know what winter looks like and how it feels, but I want to talk about what winter sounds like. Yes there are bad sounds, but there are wonderful sounds too.

Some of the bad sounds are — the chattering of teeth on a cold day, the pounding of sleet on the windows, the howling of the wind and the snapping of branches during a storm. Others include sound of squirrels in your chimney and the munching of mice in your walls in the middle of the night and, of course, the sound of tires screaming while spinning on the ice. Also, there's the sound of coughing and sneezing with winter colds. Are you discouraged yet?

Here are some of the sounds that I enjoy during the winter months: the crunching of the snow when you walk on the crusty driveway, reminds me of the sound of dry leaves in the fall. There's the noise your skis make when you try to make a turn on that good old New England boiler plate we call snow. I like the reassuring sound of the plows and sand trucks, clearing the way for us. The oil burner running, although expensive, is nice to hear on a cold night. I enjoy the cries of delight as the children play on the hillside behind my house. Did you ever go ice boating and hear the heart stopping sound of the blades clattering over the ice at forty miles an hour? Remember the sound of tire chains clanking along the road.

Kids like the sound of the fire whistle blowing the "no school, all schools, all day" announcement. I remember the drumming of feet on the schoolroom floor, as our feet began to regain their sense of feeling. Snowmobiles have a distinctive sound, and snowblowers, while loud, let you know who is out early clearing the driveway. The crackling of a fireplace is romantic as well as warm and comforting.

Sound carries differently on a crisp day. Church bells, sleigh bells, and train whistles have a different pitch to them, and my grandmother used to listen to the train whistle and say, "Sounds like rain, or snow" — I don't know how she knew the difference. Back in the dark ages during my youth, the city used to use horses to plow the sidewalks, that made no sound at all. Today, snowblowers and tractors make a dreadful noise when compared to the silent horse drawn sidewalk plows; however, horses could be rather messy with their sidewalk deposits.

Yes, I really like the sound of winter, as long as I'm wearing my earmuffs and my snuggies."

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2002 The Carlisle Mosquito