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The sounds of winter

Snowfall, birds, and trees create a subdued concert.

We often think of winter by what’s absent: The light is short, the warmth has fled, the pleasant breezes long departed. Not for nothing is it called the dead of winter. Much is present, though, even on the coldest, darkest days. You just have to listen for it. When we asked readers to share sounds of the season, many offered the particular silence imposed by a fresh snowfall. One reader cited the sounds of winter birds, those hardy souls that don’t flee to Florida. And another wrote of trees creaking in the frigid winter wind. On a recent walk in the woods in Lincoln, I experienced all three. The snow-covered ground functioned like a blanket, dampening every noise in earshot. In a cluster of trees, I came upon several different birds — including one with brilliant blue feathers — all trilling away happily. Steps away, a barren tree moaned gently as it fought off fierce gusts, as if to ask, how much longer? Cattails danced, animal prints snaked into the brush, and the clouds moved swiftly across the sky.

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WHAT SOUNDS ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD? Send ideas to or via Twitter @swhelman.

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