Vanishing Monument

April 2013

“Look outside!” spat a scowling Flemming, pacing in front of the heavy sliding doors while I sat up in my corner of the room, rubbing my eyes.

Still foggy from sleep and the wintriness of a spring morning on the Colorado Plateau, I duly complied, and was greeted by the sight in the image above.


I rubbed my eyes again, confused. “I don’t understand. What happened?”

“Snow!” he tried not to roar, hair standing on end.

“Huh?” I got more confused. “Where?”

Just a few hours before, I’d been sitting by that same door watching the sun rise over Monument Valley, carving light and depth into the landscape.


And then, post sunrise nap, everything beyond the balcony railing had disappeared into a blinding void.

I opened the door. It was dead silent. And cold.

The universe had apparently ended at the edge of the balcony.


I thought about panicking.

“It’s a snow storm! They’re quiet.” Flemming waves impatiently at the nothingness outside, still scowling. It appeared, being from icy Nordic reaches, he  wasn’t fond of snow.

Slowly, after I’d absorbed the bizarre, silent phenomenon that was my first experience of a snow storm (storm? This eternal stillness?), it started to clear.


The buttes loomed out of the white as the sun appeared, and snow melted away like it had never fallen.

The world returned.

As did Monument Valley.


Comments 6

  1. I’m not sure there is anything that compares to that perfect soft silence of a snowstorm. For me, it’s one of the the most comforting sounds (or non-sounds, I suppose).

    1. It was rather perfect I have to say, although I was somewhat bewildered by the fact that there was no chaos or sound. Read this lovely piece about how sound is dampened in a snowstorm today: https://medium.com/looking-up/acaa04bbbd1c

      It is certainly a silence that I could use in a bad way where I am, where noise is ceaseless and intrusive.

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