Snow falls in the early evening light of a farmstead
QUIET TIME: As the snow falls in the early evening light, the farm can often be a place of peace and quiet, especially after the cows are fed for the night.

The sound of silence

On a cold winter night, it can often be so quiet you can hear yourself think.

One cold winter night several years ago, I was working on chores when the normal January winds finally died down and a few flakes of snow began to fall. It was after Christmas, but the holiday lights were still twinkling around the house and yard.

I was feeding cows in our hay lot, rolling out big round bales in the field for their supper. The sun had gone down and the early evening moon shone on a thick blanket of snow that covered the house, barns, granary and everything else around our homeplace.

This was when our children were still very young, so that day had been hectic. The kids were busy playing all day in the snow, making snow forts, sledding and having snowball fights with their dad. It was noisy doing chores, too. The cows were bawling for feed like they hadn't eaten in days, although they had been fed just a few hours earlier.

But after I had fed the cows, they stopped bawling and commenced to eating their supper, quietly munching on hay. The kids were inside the house, getting ready with their mother for supper when I got back to the house. The winds that had blown hard all day had completely subsided. So, the only sound in the early evening was the tractor. As I shut the gate and started to climb up on the tractor again, I looked out over the place. The lights of our Christmas tree were still visible through out dining room window.

It had been a great Christmas. When your children are young and wide-eyed, Christmas is especially precious. I looked back at the house where my young family was, warm and cozy, and I thought about the blessings in my life.

I shut down the tractor and leaned up against one of the hay bales in the lot. I just stared out into the dark night sky, watched snowflakes slowly fall on my arms and hands, and gave thanks for those many blessings. I thought about how quiet it was around our place that night. There were no trucks or tractors rumbling down the highway. I didn't hear any engines at all, which is unusual in our neighborhood during chore time.

I didn't hear pheasants cackling in the shelterbelt or dogs barking or even coyotes howling. The only sounds were a slight breeze and the cows still munching supper. The quiet was breathtaking and uplifting, and I decided that it, too, was a blessing. So, in our noisy world today, I wish all of you in these holidays and into the new year a little pleasant quiet time like I experienced that night on our farm. It is rare these days, so if you get an opportunity for silence, take it all in.

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