Sounds of a New England Winter


I have a deep appreciation for sound. If you pay attention, it’s amazing the power sound has to define and enhance our experiences. There’s a direct connection between hearing and feeling – hearing is an emotional experience. Nothing has the power to evoke our emotions like a favorite song from our youth, the plaintive mew of a kitten or the whisper of a lover.

I was thinking the other day of what winter sounds like here in New England and how these sounds might be different from other warmer, parts of the country. Most people don’t live in New England and many don’t even experience winter the way we do in the northern parts of the country,

Here are some of the sounds from this winter here in New England:

The barely perceptible sound of snow falling around you. It’s a quiet, muffled, still kind of sound. It’s almost like a nearly silent tinkling  – like a smaller, subtler version of sand blowing around a beach.

The squish and squeak of snow compressing under a boot.

The deeper and louder yelp of car tires compacting snow into an ice-like white mass that will turn to actual ice and then resist melting until April.

The crunch and swoosh of a snow shovel biting into freshly fallen powder.

The “ungh” people make as they throw the white stuff as far away from the driveway or walkway as possible.

The high-pitch whine of tires on ice – spinning and sliding sliding sideways until they find traction.h94cw25dgxegd1zrhemx

The sharp, breaking china-like chink of an icicle cracking, then shattering on the ice-encrusted snow below.

The pop-pop, rumble-rumble of your neighbor’s snow blower as he starts it up at 6am for the fifth consecutive day.

The hollow, rubbery, aluminum sound of your other neighbor as he violently kicks at his snowblower, which refuses to start.

The deep-throated, scraping of a snow plow the next street over and the whooosh of snow being piled up into a matterhorn-like mound at the corner.

The dull thudding and crunching of two cars colliding because their drivers could not see around the matterhorn-like mound of snow at the corner.

The repetitive, disappointing sound of melted snow and ice dripping on your couch from a leak in your ice-damed roof.

The whooph-wooph-wooph of a thrown snow shovel helicoptering towards the snow plow that has just filled in the end of the driveway for the third time today.

The exploding, filthy words spewing forth the pent-up anger from the owner of a shoveled out spot that has been taken by an interloper. And then, the irritating scape of a vengeful key on automotive enamel.

The breathy, near orgasmic tone TV meteorologists adopt when discussing the “jackpot area” for snow accumulation.

The groan of an overburdened roof and the final cataclysmic crack as the support beams give way, bringing tons of snow and ice into your bedroom.

These are just a few of the sounds of winter in New England 2014-15. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

2 Responses to “Sounds of a New England Winter”

  1. I hope those are not all sounds you’ve experienced personally!

    No comment on sounds from my Massachusetts college student son, but he is getting tired of walking down sidewalks that feel like World War I trenches that are dark even on a sunny day!

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