The icy crunching of the snow under the soles of my boots reminds me of a crisp, fall day when I lived in Berkeley. My parents were visiting and we had ventured out to the football game at the university and were bravely making our way back home on foot. We chose to go by foot by necessity, not choice. Traffic was a mad chaos and it would have taken us hours to get home by bus. Driving my car and trying to find parking by the university or stadium was bad on regular days, but it was unheard of on football days.
By the time we made our way to the street where I lived we were dragging a bit, each of us walking in our own world. The street's gutter was filled with brittle, autumn leaves and I was crunching the leaves in a marching fashion as I made my way up the street to my house. I happened to look over at just the right moment and my mom was about to fall down laughing at me. “What in the world are you doing?” she asked through tears. “I’m crunching the leaves,” I remarked with a giggle. And now drawn out of my private world and back into reality, I had to laugh with her. I must have looked completely ridiculous. What can I say? I loved the sound of crunching leaves under my feet. At that time of year there was no shortage of them in Berkeley. Leaves were pretty much everywhere.
Just like there is this wonderfully, crunchy, icy snow today. I know it is a simple thing but I really love the way it sounds and feels as my feet tramp over its brittle crunch. After it snows the streets become eerily quiet. There is a buffering effect that the snow has on the environment and sounds are softer. Then a few days later, after it warms up enough for the snow and ice to melt a bit, it freezes again and we get the crunchy snow. And it is almost as good as the crunch of dry, autumn leaves.