West: Quiet down, think about life

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I'm not sure why it happens, but a good snow fall always seems special to me.

It makes me slow down and reflect upon the beauty of nature. I'm no poet, but a beautiful snow always brings a bit of Robert Frost to mind:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

Frost wrote those woods in 1923 as part of his poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." And the poem speaks of a horse-drawn sleigh and of "doubts" expressed by his little steed.

"He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake."

But the quiet does make a few minutes reflecting on the snow fall very special in an old fashioned way.
That was true early Saturday when my wife and I took our big and little dogs for a little walk.

Yes it was cold and very slick (yes I fell) but it was so quiet. All we heard was the crunch of boots on ice. No cars, no roaring trucks. Just peace and quiet. No words were necessary.

There was quiet laughter triggered by yours truly inability to get back on his feet and by the enthusiasm of the dogs enjoying the snowfall.
The big dog was bouncing up and down like a puppy. The little boy was bulldozing like a bucking bronc through drifts taller than him.
They were both smiling as happy as dogs could be.

As for us humans there was no belly-aching, grumbling ... just smiles and quiet laughter.

Of course, we were fortunate. Good food, nice, warm heat. We didn't have a worry in the world.

Naturally, those moments of winter freedom didn't last long. There were places to go and things to worry about.

Things like getting all that ice and snow off the four-wheel drive truck. After a little search the tools of winter were discovered and put to use clearing a path out to the driveway and brushing off the snow. The doors weren't frozen shut. So the defroster did most of the work.

Soon, we were on the road (much to the dismay of the dogs). Wow, almost nothing was open. We managed to avoid going into most of the few places that were opened. Those parking lots looked way too slippery.

It didn't matter. We were enjoying the adventure thanks to four-wheel drive. Slow and steady, we explored the country side. It was a black and white world with quick, bright glints of color. On our little drive, we had sense enough to avoid hillsides. We stayed nice and warm in the cab of the pickup truck.
Naturally, we forget to bring a camera but were able to "video some wonderful footage" thanks to a handy-dandy cell phone.

That leaves me to wonder a couple of things.

What if Robert Frost had a cell phone in his mitt when he stopped by that woods on a snowy evening? Yes, it would have been beautiful to see the winter scene that prompted his thoughtful words. He might have even "posted it" on Facebook.(A terrible thought.) But chances are Frost would have never put pen to ink. He would have been too busy, too distracted.

Maybe there are times we need to put the electronic gear aside and rely instead on our human senses.

Do you wonder if our constant efforts to "record and post" everything is causing us to miss some of the finer moments of life? That is something worth thinking about, don't you think?

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Mike West column
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