The first really cold nights of the year carries a wonder that I always look forward to: total silence. Not a bug. Not a bird (until morning, anyway.) Not a breeze. Not the rustle of a leaf. Just quiet. Glorious nothingness. In the gaps not festooned with the sounds of neighborly climate control, utter stillness. Perhaps a faraway car or cow. You might hear a sniffle or a sign if anyone were near. But no one is. There is nothing but the sleeping planet and stars. It’s glorious.

     Not to contradict myself, but there are sounds that paint themselves into the quiet, and these I love insanely. Like the owls I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Last night offered up an unexpected one. At about two in the morning, a honking. Present, then louder, and louder, multi-voiced – until there were hundreds and hundreds of honks. Geese. Snow geese, I think. I thought they’d landed in the yard, they were so low and close. I got up to scour the sky from the bedroom window, but couldn’t see them. Couldn’t see, but was lucky enough to hear. The glimpse I got with my ears, it was worth lying awake afterward.