I finally had the chance to test out my new winter gear. With some snow and ice on the trail and temps in the teens, I ventured out for a run. Almost everything worked really well. My hands got a little hot and I ran much of the 6 miles with bare hands. The jacket shell I was wearing didn’t breathe well and my arms got sweaty but never once did I get cold. All in all it was a great run. I also got to hear something I haven’t heard in a long time: the silence of winter.
There is something unique about being away from civilization during the winter (Ok, the Gateway trail is not “away from civilization” but it’s the closest I can come within the metro). The silence after a new snow can really be powerful. Growing up near Duluth, I spent a lot of time as a kid out in the woods, and I loved being still and only hearing my breath on those cold, clear winter days. I got a bit of that on my run.
I also probably read too much Jack London as a kid. I was reminded of this passage from The White Silence. My run on the Gateway does not live up to the intensity of this passage but there is a connection:
“Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity-the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven’s artillery-but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are of brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot’s life, nothing more. Strange thoughts arise, unsummoned, and the mystery of all things strives for utterance. And the fear of death, of God, of the universe, comes over him-the hope of the Resurrection and the Life, the yearning for immortality, the vain striving of the imprisoned essence-it is then, if ever, man walks alone with God.”
If the noise and business of daily life is a sickness that keeps us from being alone with God, a “white silence” moment is a remedy.
Please consider making a donation to my fundraising campaign. Five or ten bucks would be awesome and then tell someone about what I’m doing. I’m Running for a Cure in the New Year!