By Miles A Moody
Snowfall in the southern United States is rare enough, even in the mountains, to make it special for most of us. I was fortunate to catch a series of snowfalls while camping in the Smoky Mountain National Park. Road access through Cades Cove was closed but a long trek into the back of the cove landed me into one of those sublime experiences that I treasure at least as much as snowfall.
You wouldn’t think so, but it seems that the quiet can really grab my attention and hold it just long enough to make a deep impression. I become aware of the tinkling snow falling, then each whispered ‘tink’ seems to make itself known individually, and then the sense of something profound steps out of the obscurity between the sounds, looming into my awareness where nothing had registered the moment before. I’m startled only to the degree that the sound of falling snow impacts my senses, but it’s still a significant impacting, because (as I mentioned) nothing was there just the moment before…or so I assume, until the feeling of it settles in and begins to jog a kind of recollection unlike any sort of remembering that I’m previously familiar with. It’s so unfamiliar to me, this presence, that it’s as though it reaches into me like my heart is a hard drive and begins accessing anything there that will lend it a language to speak to me through, because it doesn’t use English and it doesn’t speak through the thoughts of my brain. A flood of ‘feeling memory’ begins to flow through me like I’m re-living it; there’s the way my grandmother poured my milk a hour early so as to allow the cream to settle to the top because I loved the way it tasted on my upper lip; there’s the feel of the trees calming me in the woods near my boyhood home no matter the drama that I had just experienced; there’s the image of me lying in the hayloft stroking a yellow kitten as the rain patters on the tin roof, and on it goes until…..I just get it; it occurs to me how all these past experiences had one thing in common – an essence, a presence that is here again within me having stepped into my awareness from out of the silence between the sounds. I’m returned home, I realize, to the home I had forgotten so long ago that I can’t place the time when I lost touch with it. I just know that I did (continued with Placid Snows 2 ). ©2005 Miles A Moody All Rights Reserved. Kindly refrain from copying this photographic and/or written work in whole or in part for any purpose without my written permission
Nikon F5, Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, 125mm (Nikkor AFS 2.8ED 80-200), F/4, Wimberley head, Gitzo tripod, Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Slide film professsionally scanned into a detailed digital file and processed in PS CS5.