I spent part of Saturday cross-country skiing (or sometimes referred to as Nordic skiing) in one of Mid-Michigan’s lovely natural areas (see photos below). What I have learned to love about cross-country skiing (and snowshoeing) is the oneness you feel with your winter surroundings. Since the winter of 2011-2012 has been unseasonably mild here, there have been precious few opportunities to explore on ski or snowshoe. After our three-inch snowfall last night, I was not about to miss the opportunity.
There is a gentle hush that falls over the landscape after a snowfall, even in an urban area. Whether this is created by the blanket of snow cover or not, I do not know. What I do know is this hush is soothing – almost like a natural sedative for the soul. When you are in a natural area, all you hear are your own movements in the snow and when you stop, the calming aspects of Mother Nature, like:
- A gentle breeze dusting the new fallen snow off an evergreen;
- The creaking movement of deciduous trees in the wind;
- A woodpecker tapping a tree trunk for food;
- A rabbit darting through the snow;
- The hoot of an owl;
- A chickadee’s cheery and melodic chatter; or
- The gurgling sound of an unfrozen stream.
But this peaceful effect is not limited to natural areas. When I walk around the community during or after a snowfall, everything seems more quiet, including the traffic.
Spending a few hours amid winter’s peaceful hush is a lovely way to escape the day-to-day trappings of the rat race, to recharge your batteries, and to be at peace again with the world. The opportunity to enjoy these hushed moments is one reason I cherish living in a northern climate, as is found here in the Great Lakes region, throughout Canada, in Scandinavia and the Baltic regions, amid the Rocky Mountains, and in many other beautiful places around the globe.