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The first snow of the season here in Northern Colorado got me outside to shovel and sweep, to breathe in and out, to hear the beauty of silence.

Snow Sweeping Meditation

Arriving home at midnight, I found one inch of fresh snow had blanketed the earth. The temperature was well below freezing. The air was still; not a breath of wind could be felt. The small flakes drifted slowly, as though they wanted to hang in the air forever, knowing the ground would be their final resting place. I put on my hat and gloves and thought about leaving the car running, ensuring warmth upon re-entry, but changed my mind without really thinking why. Exiting the car, I retrieved the push-broom from the garage.

Starting at the top of the driveway, I brushed the snow toward the sidewalk with ease. It scattered in front of me like powdered sugar. The rhythmic scraping of bristles on concrete was the only sound. A shiver crept up my spine. I stopped sweeping and am captured by the silence. I kept my breathing quiet, so as not to disturb the moment and listened. Only muted silence; deafening in its completeness.

I began sweeping again, working my way along the sidewalk, past one neighbor’s house, and then another. The earlier cold gave way to inner warmth, possibly from the light work I performed; more likely from the surrounding tranquility. I swept my way from one driveway to the next. Aware of what I was doing, I was also transfixed by the swishing of the bristles on the pavement. It carried my awareness to a place undefined. I don’t recall if the journey led inward or somewhere far away. Standing still, I again listened to my breath. Its steady cadence, like that of my sweeping, cleared my thoughts and defined my being.

I returned to my driveway and removed the light dusting that had since covered my previous effort. I hoped the flakes would end their dance. But it didn’t matter. The snow was doing only what it knew, without malice or contempt. It had given itself so that I could be aware of the tranquility of its quiet, allowing me to witness its light in the dark and the beauty of its individuality.

I listened once more and heard nothing.

Peace in silence.

I smiled and began to sweep again.