Snow thoughts

Snow filters down like flour through an old-time sifter. All is slow motion and silence outside, save for the distant scrape of an early-bird shoveler. Peaceful snow days provide a welcome excuse for that rewarding but elusive experience - a cozy time at home. The ingredients are simple: a dancing fire, a quiet conversation, an intriguing book.

Often the most memorable day of winter is a low-key one like this, with its turning away from task lists and toward a strengthening of bonds with family and friends.

Snowy days are an apt time, too, to reflect quietly on one's personal values, and on how well they are being lived up to.

Some do their contemplating in indoor comfort.

Others prefer an outdoor stroll, crunching through the snow while gaining inspiration from an area that exudes tangible history, like stately Tory Row in Cambridge, Mass. Wealthy British-siding merchants lived here when the Revolutionary War broke out: A dash of imagination calls forth reflections on that challenging time, and upon the lasting values a new nation developed.

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