I've been hearing an incredible sound in the last several days. I'd not heard it in all the time we've lived here, nearly seven years now.
It's the most remarkable sound in the world: the sound of silence.
No traffic, no planes, no buses, no trains. Nothing but an occasional gust of wind, or the muffled patter of falling snow.
Silence. Nothing at all but silence.
During the day, things liven up a bit and I might hear scraping noises, as people shovel their drives and dig out their cars, or even voices as they laugh and joke with their neighbors.
But once darkness falls, and the last few souls who ventured out go back in, the silence returns.
As everybody by now has heard, Washington DC has received a tremendous amount of snow. Here in my hometown of Arlington, a close-in DC suburb, we've had 50" in the last week and a half alone.
The end of this sequence of strange storms appears to be arriving soon. Within a few hours, the storm system will move on, and the city and its people will slowly begin to recover.
Roads will be cleared, cars will be started, buses and trains will run again, and the airport will open. The silence will, slowly and surely, be replaced with the more normal sounds of this city I have come to call home.
I am already working on carefully putting away the memory of the remarkable sound I heard this past week. I'm filing that memory away in the place where I store my reserves for days that are not so silent, days that are likely to be loud and boisterous and stressful.
Those days are sure to come, and when they do, I plan to go to my reserves and find that place, the one where I've tucked away my memory of the world's most remarkable sound.
And I will listen to it again.