Tuesday November 14th, 2006

I walked into the cold air.  Instantly my nose wrinkles upwards, the tiny hairs inside crackling and contracting, feeling frozen and inept against the cold.  The feeling I have is one of comfort.  I know that behind me, my house is warm and comfortable.  I take pleasure in the fact that my errand will not keep me out in this frozen landscape for long.  Even though it is beautiful outside.  The air is crisp and the night is clear and still.  It is warm enough to snow.  I can smell it, and the condensation on the windows I pass signify the damp chill of outside mingling with the warmer temperatures inside.

As I walk, I notice the silence.  In a city this size, the hustle and bustle of life becomes muted, slower the first few snowfalls.  Only when the white turns to muck and slush do things return to normal.  Noise reasserts itself and people move along quickly; those who live in the city try to get out of the slush and crowds of Christmas shoppers and touristss, and the tourists themselves wander around looking slightly confused and happy.

I turn down a quiet side street and the snow looks untouched.  The street lights are scarce and therefore it is darker here, but at the same time the snow makes everything glow, diffusing it's own light and presence onto the objects it blankets.  My footfalls are barely audible.  When I was young I used to walk slowly, listening carefully to the crunchy, crumbling sounds my footsteps made, and pretend I was Indiana Jones, alone in a cave.  I do this now, and no other sound is heard.  The air is heavy and dense.  I reach the end of the quiet, fairytale-like street and turn the corner, into the bright lights and shuffling feet of the business men and women who are arriving home late, who all have tired eyes. 
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