Silver Bells

My neighbors and I, we parade up and down our street at twilight, singing to anyone who will come to their door (and to many who won’t). When we sing, we don’t think about the words on any conscious level; we just sing them, making sure to hit the right notes.

But later, when I’m back at my computer, biding my time until my wife’s car arrives in the drive outside, that is when I do study the words, searching for meaning. We live in an age which cannot fathom meaninglessness, after all. There has to be an answer, and with the wealth of human knowledge at my finger tips, I go searching.

‘Does snow crunch?’ I ask myself, as I read the lyrics to one of my favorites. Sure, it’s a strong enough word, an evocative verb. And sure, I’m hard-pressed to think of an alternative. But is that the sound that snow makes.

I’m tempted to go outside and check, but my socks are hanging over the heater and there is a sleeping dog curled around my shriveled, aching feet. So, instead, I try to conjure in my mind an instance where snow really would crunch.

What I come up with is a memory of a snow fort my brother and I built around a huge pine at the end of our parents’ long driveway. The pine was at our backs, the huge snowbank built by a winter’s worth of plowing at our fronts, and we played in there like warrior-kings. We were invincible, even as we slipped around on the now icy floor. Icy because of a bit of rain the night before, it turned out. And when we put our weight on the snow now, what we got before our feet were sucked into the powder was the satisfying crunch of that top layer.

‘Hear the snow crunch’ indeed.

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