Thursday, February 1, 2007

Sibilant Hissing Sound

Edwin Way Teale, February 1 entry from A Walk Through the Year:

Now, toward noon, as I am beating my way into the wind across the Starfield, the snow begins. At first it streams out of the north in small hard pellets. I feel the sting as they are hurled against my face. Through slitted eyes, I see them racing by. Within the shelter of the woods, I stop to catch my breath.

Where only yesterday we walked in mild and sunny weather, the trails lie in dim, murky light. Overhead the treetops wail in a rising and falling tumult, swept by uneven gusts. As I plod on deeper into the interior of the woods, I am accompanied by a kind of faint shimmer where the reduced light catches the snow filtering down along the dark tree trunks.

During short-lived lulls, I pick out the low sifting or sibilant hissing sound of the flakes striking twigs and small objects around me. Not once in my hour in the woods do I hear the voice of a living creature. Everything has taken shelter. Everything is lying low.

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