Orignially written for kurtsyurt.com Oct. 2015

Great white clouds poured into the mouth of the canyon; one big silent wall. From where I was, on the trail just beneath the line of pine trees, I could see it coming on in a rush—moving quickly, and from where I was, hardly seeming to move at all.

The wind had picked up ahead of the snow. I could feel it, bundled up though I was, pulling at my jacket, pushing me on up the mountain. Ahead of me, the black tops of the pine trees waved, swaying in great big arcs, back and forth. They whispered and hissed, like the sound of a river in the distance.

I started moving again, giant snowshoe steps easier with the wind at my back, though my legs still shook with the effort. Step after step, poles in the snowdrifts, sinking in just a little as I made my way to the treeline.

I reached the trees as the first flakes began to fall, tiny specks of cold that spun around the rising white column of my breath and landed, unmelting, on my gloves and jacket. I moved on, deeper into the forest, as the snow fell thicker and thicker.

The rush of the wind in the trees had been going on so long that it’d become a constant—a hiss all around me, punctuated by the swaying pine trees, back and forth, metronomes keeping time with the rhythm of the oncoming storm. Then, all at once, they stopped.

Big white flakes came down from the smoke-colored sky into the dim light of the forest. The still, cold air pricked my cheeks. Each breath seemed to be swallowed up by the snow.

With the snow came silence. A thick white silence, so complete that, for a moment, I forgot myself. I was lost in the world around me, swallowed by the forest, washed away by snow that fell in great white clumps and muffled everything.

I was filled with the emptiness of it all, far away from the sound of cars and the flash of screens, nobody calling, nothing to say. Just this—just me in an ocean of quiet, lost in the soft grey light of the forest and the silence of a snowstorm.

Back at the yurt there would be hot chocolate and a warm fire in the wood stove. There would be a place to hang my coat, and a warm bed to crawl into. But all of that would be there, still, when I got back. It could wait. It wasn’t going anywhere. For now, I was content.

The snow fell. The trees pulled in tight, protecting me from the worst of it. There was no sound. No sound at all. For once in a very long time, I was at peace.