The most striking difference between Maine and home is the quiet. In mid-summer the lake is quiet, save for the occasional ski boat or song drifting from one of the camps at twilight. In the winter, with snow falling, “quiet” is inadequate. It’s a sound desert. One hears the ice moaning and settling, the hushed “thwumpff” off snow falling from a pine bough, the crack of a log burning in the fireplace. Everyone else left on the morning after Christmas. Working all afternoon at the computer, the only sound the rapid-fire tat-tat-tat of the keyboard, the silence was deafening. I put on a jazz station to fill the void. Now, two days later, the silence is refreshing as the crisp air and comforting as the smell of wood smoke.

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