February 1, 2009

Past the Ice and Snow

Our beautiful winter wonderland took on a certain terrifying quality beginning this past Tuesday morning. Brrrr..... As the rain soaked tree branches belonging to the many trees in our neighborhood and town froze overnight, I stood just inside the doorway to our home, slid open the sliding glass door, and listened in awe and sadness as one tree after another toppled or lost branches in the woods behind our home.... Snap! Swoosh! Crash!...silence... Snap! Swoosh! Crash! ...silence...over and over again.

Thousands of folks in Athens County were without electricity, some still are. The ice storm has passed now. Now pellets and tiny daggers of ice fall from the trees onto our roof...slide from the top of my van onto the windshield...form wet, dirty puddles to step around. Business that didn't need to lose income, lost a lot. Folks who didn't need to lose a day or two of pay, had to miss work. Our heroes this past week were the people who make sense of the wires hanging along our streets, above our houses, through fields and woods. Also, the volunteers who fed and provided shelter to those who needed it, the employees and neighbors who went beyond the call of duty, the sheriff and police who checked on elderly, disabled, or remote people either without loved ones nearby or who family could not reach.
We lost a lot of branches from an evergreen, and a tree next to it which had bent itself down to the ground in resignation, today is standing up tall and healthy again. My husband's favorite tree, a red bud, lots the top half of its trunk, it's lying on the patio, a sign of nature's surprise and power.
Yeah for the gift of art and crafts! With colored pencils, bristol board, and a sharpener, I was all set to draw. The skylight above the kitchen and the island directly underneath it were turned into a place to draw. While water simmered on the gas stove, we stayed in the warm kitchen listening to NPR and eating crackers.
In the last ice storm, about four years ago, I ventured out and took many pictures. This time I felt the trees were too unstable to walk underneath them...so I focused on other things. But I did notice the whiteness of it all. One morning, the sky was white, the trees were white, the ground was white, our house is white... I longed for color, and found it in the colorful abstract drawing I started. Yeah for color! Yeah for wool socks! Yeah for electricity.