Monday, December 30, 2013

Festive Season's Ice

With an ironic nod to the holidays, the elements got together to pack a heavy wallop over the festive season - a cluster bomb of snow, ice, pellets, and freezing rain. The landscape became decked in a lethal, startlingly beautiful coat. Nature can indeed cause havoc, as residents of New Orleans, Fukushima, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, Mexico CityHaiti, Chile, Ethiopia, Somalia, for example, can readily attest with their heavy loss of life from hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions…. For many hundreds of thousands from the Great Lakes to the eastern seaboard, the Christmas week ice storm must have been one long  nightmare with lengthy power outages which continue yet for some. Thankfully though, fatalities were low.

For our visiting friends and us on a convivial Christmas Eve, the scene around us was dream-like and spectacular in its sparkling splendour. A lone deer high-tailed it off up the hill, leaving not a trace as she negotiated the crusty ice without penetrating it. We walked in reverence, as if on glass, treading gingerly, taking in the magical sparkling of the grasses and branches coated in thick ice. The setting sun cast long late-afternoon shadows atop the white surface.

With extended cold and sunshine, the light and ice show lasted for days, a brief power outage proving to be only a minor inconvenience. As we wait for the accumulation to slide off the roof in one momentous crash, we are more aware than ever of the treacherous, beauteous, humbling nature of ice.