THE ICE STORM
Sunday, December 22, 2013 | Posted in Discoveries, Inspiration
The morning was surprisingly quiet. Waking early, I savored a few moments of peace before rising. The day was organized, preparations made, food at the ready for my family’s annual Christmas descent. It was after rambling through my old home for many minutes that the light switch was flipped and … nothing happened.
“The power is out,” my husband whispered, to let sleeping teenagers lie. The night had been quiet, our sleep deep, with nothing to foretell what we would see as we approached the window: The whole yard was shrouded in crystal and ice, the trees glistened in the rising sunshine, the magnificent beauty of light bouncing off myriad branches instilled awe.
That’s when we saw the fallen limbs strewn across our property and across the street – neighbouring houses also dark. I threw on a wrap to check my garden, my art, my studio. I traipsed into the backyard, concerned about damage – my blown glass intact, my soaring birds still airborne, one rhododendron split in two; but my haven, my studio, stood strong and unscarred at the end of the garden.
Looking back to the house and up to the trees, I could see the damage, feel the weight of the ice, and suddenly sense the danger emanating through the cracks and pops coming from my ancient maple. Regal and glistening, she had lost many branches, mostly small, but one or two looked splinter sharp and sufficiently sturdy to do considerable damage.
Realizing this was not yet over, I quickly made my way through the debris back to the house. Moments later, our majestic girl gave up a major limb. It crashed down onto the neighbour’s garage, slid off the roof, and landed on their car. The sound was thunderous and the damage clear. The next crash came from the street where a gnarly old branch had fallen on the nose of a passing car – a second later and the passengers would have been injured.
Crashing continued for an hour. Kids were woken and brought to the main floor, a precaution against the threat of our vulnerable canopy. The sun began to warm ice and melt weight. Eventually the booming of falling limbs stopped. With fear abated and damages assessed – we were lucky.
Calls were made, everyone was fine, and the family dinner was called off. Neighbours came to clear the ice and open the road. Dinner was shared with neighbours, thanks to our gas stove and beautifully set table – the candlelight only added to the ambience!
Subsequent days were spent slowing down – distractions disappeared, books were opened, preparations simplified, and helping those affected was now the priority. Life was taken back to the basics – family, friends and simple pleasures – against the backdrop and haunting beauty of a profound storm and a harsh winter.
Power came on in time for the next Christmas dinner. By then the peace we had found was deepened, and no family dynamics could dispel the gift of gratitude that came with the Ice Storm of 2013.