digging out, the alps

Digging Out! . . . the Alps.

This is the little hut where I've spent many a winter in the
European Alps. At 1,600 meters, it's not unusual to have a
continuous snowpack for more than six months of the year.
In the photograph, the snow on the tile roof has finally let
go, coming down with a sigh and then a thunderous crash
in the middle of the night.

It might seem somewhat forbidding, to live in a place
with so much winter and so much snow. But, actually,
it's not. For me, snow is a friend. One must only understand,
that once a road is closed for winter, the spirit of the mountain
returns. One is surrounded by a magnificent symphony of sounds
of the very most subtle kind. I have frequently skied up to this hut
straight out of the busy streets of Amsterdam. It takes me days
to acclimate myself to the depth of silence, especially at
night. There's always a tell-tale ringing of the ears. But
also, a growing realization of the great tragedy of the by
now all-but ubiquitous insensitivity of Western culture
to natural sound. Surely, this does not bode well for a
culture's sensitivity to poetry or music. And yet, this
silence has not gone away. It is there, wating, free and
full of promise and tremendous energy, for all those who
will venture into the roadless, pathless land of the

(Photograph was made the end of April. Notice that the buds of the native
Rowan or Mountain Ash (pictured right)
are still tightly closed.)

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2003 picture-poems.com