By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

It has been a long and challenging week.

There’s a lot to process from these past few days, with subjects that don’t fit into the theme of “positivity” and “local” I’ve built this site around. For that reason, I’ll focus on another topic, but it felt insincere to not at least acknowledge this week. I will say I believe we are better than this.

There was some distraction from national news this week. The local weather reports have been saying a chance of snow this weekend is 100 percent likely. The last time it snowed was February of last year, and just for one day. I chuckled as my desert-born dogs shot me perplexed looks as they stomped around in the foreign white substance, convinced I had somehow “done” this to them.

The Vegas dogs have been betrayed by nature. – Photo by Guy Chapman

Did you ever notice things seem a little quieter after a snowfall? Part of it is due to people and animals staying home when it snows, but there’s actually science to silence. Snow actually absorbs sound, according to AccuWeather.

As snow is a porous mineral (yes, snow is actually considered a mineral due to its natural formation), the open spaces between its crystal sides get in the way of soundwaves once a few inches accumulate. Think of it as the foam-covered walls of a musician’s acoustic studio. The surfaces are insulated, but still have small holes in the material to absorb sound.

The secret to a “quiet” snowfall is to experience right after it has settled on the ground. It’s a temporary effect, but a peaceful one. The lack of sounds almost makes the experience more tangible.

Light dustings of snow won’t change sound, and once snow melts, it loses the ability to retain noise. Melting snow that turns to ice actually amplifies sound and makes noises clearer.

You probably didn’t expect to learn about acoustic science in one of my columns, but we’re already off to an unusual 2021, so I’m going to remain flexible.

I’m looking forward to a weekend of snow. There’s something pure about seeing the cleanliness of an untouched frozen yard before it melts, and I welcome the change of scenery.

I’m looking forward to a few moments of quiet and stillness.

The show of 2020. – Photo by Guy Chapman

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