• Justin Key

Behind the Title - The Sound of Silence

Updated: Aug 23

"The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Snow falling on a forest of evergreen trees.

Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling and chestnuts roasting while you deck the halls with a fa la la la la as a white Christmas falls outside? This photo has all the makings of a Hallmark movie with a happy family nestled up in a mountain cabin watching the snow fall on a million Christmas trees as they decorate their own in front of a crackling fire. Andy Williams or Bing Crosby would have been the star atop this 'tis the season scene had I not been in shorts with my back to the golden hills of another stellar Colorado autumn when I took it.


Something about the freak September blizzard fought off the temptation to name it after a classic Christmas carol. My annual fall foliage tour was well underway when a sharp curve revealed a winter storm stampeding down the mountain. Hit by its shockwave of awe, I pulled the car over and exited to feel the icy inbound air chasing fall from the valley. As the snow moved in, silence settled on the forest and the snowglobe world froze time before my eyes.


The snow descended with grace upon a landscape in shock. Time moved slower than the patient flakes that seemed to be dragging the thick clouds from which they arrived into the abyss of pine needles with them. With the air cold, snow dense, and time frozen, sound waves couldn't penetrate the winter dome and silence settled gently on the land.


The moment was one of pure wonder. The fall colors were putting on a show and this was Mother Nature's encore. The song to accompany this scene had to evoke the same unnerving peace and calming cold that had distracted me from my bare shins and burning ears. Enter, the lone guitar of this Simon & Garfunkel hit.


The intro is delicate, brushing the ears as soft as snow settling on a leaf. Vocals join the faint plucking with tenderness to lullaby a sloth to sleep. The subdued duet creates a slight echo behind the crawling lyrics, enough to send a shiver through you. The words don't have to tell a story for this scene, the sound paints the picture. A world frozen and cold and yet so soothing.


The melody rises with the realization of the miraculous moment being witnessed. A warmth builds within, kindled by the astonishing display. Remarkable is the unexpected as is the joy brimming within. It holds you tight, a swaddle of beauty daring you to behold while it taps the childlike wonder locked away. Suddenly it's Christmas Day, it's your first kiss, it's the moment the training wheels come off and you find balance. Finally, a crescendo in a smile stretching across your face as a snowflake tickles your nose.