News From Terre Haute, Indiana


December 16, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Nothing like the silence of a winter snowfall

I’m not a big fan of cold and snow, but …

I awoke the other morning about 3: 30. There was no apparent reason. The furnace was not grinding away as it has been doing quite a lot lately. The refrigerator wasn’t dropping ice cubes. I hadn’t heard the Tribune-Star hit the front door. There was no splash of rain and certainly no thunder or flash of lightning.

Most of these noises are what they tell me are called “white noises,” noises which are so familiar that you are not aware of hearing them. They may even be a sort of lullaby for sleep along with a blast from the railroad alert or the click of a passing train on the track.

I finally realized that what I was hearing was silence — the silence of a snowfall.

There is no silence quite like it, and we haven’t heard it often for some years. A snowfall silence seems to wrap noise in a sort of blanket which smothers any outside noise. I am told that there is such a thing as “thunder snow,” but I am grateful that I’ve never heard it.

There is a comfortable loneliness in a significant several inches of snow, and it has been some time since I’ve heard, or more exactly NOT heard, that deep and complete silence. Our busy world is a frenzy of noises.

We got quite a lot of snow in Yorkville during winters past. We could sled and ski and ice skate, but my favorite thing to do was to put on a pair of skis, pack a sandwich and some warm broth and follow Blackberry Creek northwest.

Mine were the only tracks as I did my cross-country up the frozen creek, although once in a while our collie, Lady, would go part of the way with me, and her paw prints capered around those I was making.

I don’t claim that the silence was complete. Now and then there was a flap of wings and the raucous call of a blue jay. Sometimes a rustle in the weeds along the creek suggested that a small animal was headed for its burrow after a night of hunting. It was luxury to stop and enjoy a sip of broth and a bite of sandwich before starting home to the traffic and conversation of civilization and all those noises which invade thought and the simple pleasure of being alone to think.

So, there I was at 3:30 a.m. wrapped in a warm blanket, snowy silence and remembered joys. I was comforted and went back to sleep.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 28th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010