The Texture Of Things

Ice, Part One

January 15th, 2007

There is nothing like driving down the local streets after an ice storm to get me paying attention to my surroundings. I love what winter weather does to places, people, plants, animals. I love witnessing the power of weather, particularly in winter. Rainstorms in the spring and summer are great while they last, but they don’t usually leave much lasting change. Snow and ice do.

And ice, oh man, ice is mighty.

bright red shrub, the name of which i do not know, located in the front yard

It is brilliant and dangerous. It is heavy and brittle. It will take you where it wants to go – down, like my tree, for instance.

black walnut, not looking so good

HG and I were awake when it happened at seven this morning. I was still in bed. I heard a POP! crackle crackle crackle, cracklecracklecracklecracklecrackle! I couldn’t discern what it was and since it was sort of quiet and was not followed by a ka-THUMP or crying, I didn’t get up. After HG came to the bedroom to tell me what it was, he said it sounded like firecrackers to him, and playing it back in my head, I agree completely.

when the ice cracks, it sounds like breaking glass

The important things to note are that no one was hurt, the power lines were not hit or damaged, the house was not hit. In fact, the very tippy, tippy top of the branches landed about a car length from the closest part of the house. Decent.

That’s not to say we’re out of the woods yet (har). HG pointed out this morning that because the temperatures weren’t supposed to rise above freezing today, the stress of holding up the ice all day would likely take its toll, and he was right. Trees that were standing this morning when I left for a playdate had given up pieces of themselves by the time I returned 3.5 hours later. Our tree could offer up another third of itself by tomorrow, as well, especially since it’s snowing now.

On my way home earlier, I drove with my window down listening to the creaking of the giant ice-covered trees that line the main road through my town. It is quite a game of nerves to drive under these ancient trees, wondering if they will cast their limbs down on my van while I pass beneath, hoping and feeling oddly grateful for the power lines that were holding them up. And then passing a firetruck, called to a scene where the power lines gave way under the heavy ice.

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