Silence and stillness

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which, 
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing …

Mary Oliver
from Snowy Night

There’s been a hushed stillness here today. My morning walk gave way to a post-thaw amble after dark. I’ve been pondering the ‘power’ of a perfectly symmetrical snowflake * which, in company with millions of others like it, can quieten wide spaces and bring about a stillness that nothing else can. Ordinary human activity is disrupted and it’s not without reason, I think, that we’re sometimes awestruck by the sound of silence (and occasional hooting) that accompanies falling snow. Thoughts give way to quietened wonder … and – as Mary Oliver goes on to ask …

aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? 

* see ‘Symmetry of Snowflakes’ by Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Digital Media Fellow, Faculty of Science in the University of Warwick