One of the unusual things following the essential completion of my project at work is that I rather suddenly have a great deal of "free" time.
It is not surprising of course: When one is on a single project, especially at the end, one's time becomes consumed with meetings and follow-ons and timeline updates and e-mails (the bread and butter of the project manager).
And then, very oddly, it all stops.
It is an odd silence, the silence of the power going out at one's home: one almost realizes it as an after effect, that thing in the back of one's mind that is not immediately obvious: "Why is the refrigerator not running?", and then it hits one that all the little bits and pieces of an electric home - not just the refrigerator but the appliance clocks and power indicator lights on smoke alarms have all suddenly stopped working.
It is very much like that.
The first few weeks are not too odd - there are still items to closeout and files to be filed and timelines to be updated. But all to soon, those tasks are done.
Where the calendar used to be chock full of meetings - 7 + hours a day - there is now only maybe 2-3 hours at best. E-mails slow to a handful, to be immediately responded to and filed. One starts to catch whiffs of other ongoing projects that themselves have taken critical path of which one is not involved in, mentioned in passing references with colleagues or "we will discuss it at XXX meeting" references in other meetings.
Snow brings silence.
Above is the approximate view from the office window at The Ranch. This is about as deep as the snow got (5"/12.7 cm) today. This is my view every morning that I work from here.
Stepping outside to just watch it (I could watch it fall endlessly, but then again I do not have to deal with it as anything more than a novelty), I am always struck by the silence that snow brings. Part of that has to be due to the fact that when it is actively snowing (at least here), not much is going on. There is even less traffic from over the hill than usual. The outside animals one can here - dogs, chickens, cattle - is gone. There are no birds about of course, the only thing on the wind are the flakes which fall, more quickly or slowly as the wind moves them. The snow seems to eat the sound.
Why is it that one set of silences disturbs me while the other is soothing? It is not as if the snow is "task free" - for all of my sitting here watching it, I will need to go out soon and shovel it to make sure I can get out the following day to get back to the airport. At the moment the snow is as omnipresent as my continuing seeming lack of work - yet I accept the shoveling and preparation as another task to accomplish. The work situation has equally no tasks, yet I cannot escape the guilt of not having tasks in my mind.
The e-mail box behind me sits and shimmers, a white screen with files that does not change. The snow equally sits in front me - not shimmering, but almost glowing as it continues to gather on the ground.
Only the fire pops in the background, quietly burning low.