Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Beauty in the Storm

It began as a typical winter rain day, but then the temperatures began to spiral downward and the rain began to freeze on the trees. As day turned to darkness and I lay in bed trying to sleep I could hear the snap, crackle, pop of branches breaking and tumbling down to the ground. Then bigger booms as trees came crashing down. Weak hardwoods and tall, skinny pine trees just couldn't handle the weight of the ice. Lights flickered on and off several times and eventually the power went out for good. We were without power all night and woke to a chill in the air. No heat, no internet, no cell service. We felt very disconnected from the world.

ice laden trees at early morning sunrise
ice laden trees as sunrise peaks over the horizon

As morning graced the garden we could see all the damage from the ice storm. The linemen had been out working tirelessly all night trying to restore power. More than 200,000 people were impacted. The crews risk their lives in such treacherous conditions. They are such brave souls replacing poles, fixing lines and removing trees to restore power as quickly as possible.



The ice storm caused a lot of disaster but there is also beauty to be found in it. The trees heavy under a coat of ice shimmered and shone as the sunlight hit the icicles and sparkled liked diamonds.


Our cherry trees and plum trees were just about to burst into bloom when the storm hit and encased them in a bubble of ice.

cherry trees about to bloom under ice
cherry trees ready to burst into bloom under coat of ice

The buds were frozen in time and gave a pink hue to the ice capades.


Walking through the garden I found more blooms being brave little souls under the spell of the ice.


Some that couldn't hang on and tumbled to the ground with their glass house in tact.


And others that are holding out for warmer days (may we be blessed with those soon!)


The naturally made ice sculptures added some fabulous winter interest to the garden.


I watched the birds trying to sit on icy limbs or eat at the feeders that were frozen in ice. Even these skilled species had a difficult time maneuvering the elements. My heated birdbath wasn't even working for them since it is electrically powered. The downfalls of modern technology.


The freezing rain hanging in the form of icicles from branches, bird houses, fences and blooms became a science lesson for my children.



And, also made for some interesting shapes in the grasses, leaves and branches



We were all waiting for the sun to warm us up with the exception of our Shepherd who reveled in the arctic conditions. It was mid-day when the sun appeared and began to melt some of the frozen water creating an ere atmosphere with fog kicking up.


As you can see in these photos the roads were clear of ice, the ground too warm for it to hold. But there was enough damage done. Our power came back on 15 hours later. We were fortunate compared to some who were out of power for several days. The wind that swept in the following day felt like Boreas chilling the air with his icy breath. Thirty-five m.p.h. wind gusts hurled ice around the garden making it hazardous to walk and drive around. Shattered ice looked like broken glass carpeting the forest floor.

Overnight our temperatures plummeted to a winter low of 15 degrees (feeling like 0 with the windchill). My thoughts were with those still without heat as the wind had caused more outages despite all the efforts of the Jackson EMC crews.


These forces are out of our control but finding beauty in these worst of times makes for some good times. As Charles Dickens wrote in his Tale of Two Cities,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,...
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, 
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...
~Charles Dickens (Tale of Two Cities)

OK...so we're not experiencing anything as dramatic as the French Revolution but some of the words felt applicable (artistic interpretation).


21 comments:

  1. The ice is beautiful and I hope it didn't do too much damage to your garden. It's pretty to look at, but I'm very glad I don't have to deal with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was able to safely walk around the woods yesterday and there were mostly small to medium size limbs down. No big tree losses. We'll have to wait and see how the fruit trees fair. If the ice didn't kill the blooms the arctic temperatures we've had the past two days may. Fingers crossed.

      Delete
  2. Wonderful words and photos to describe what we experienced Karin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Penny! It was an interesting experience wasn't it?!

      Delete
  3. Good one! I feel like I was there--in the worst of times and the best of times. Sorry for all the damage! Will your fruit trees be OK? I noticed many people here in Central Florida even, covering their plants and tender trees. They're predicting a freeze tonight, and many of the tropical plants might be in peril. I hope your temps warm up soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure about our fruit trees Beth. Time will tell. We actually are more likely to get ice storms than snow in winter but these below freezing temperatures are not typically and I'm not a cold weather person. I wish you had some better weather on your trip to Florida. It's probably not that much different from home. Safe travels to you!

      Delete
  4. Those are some gorgeous images - especially the grass. However, I feel bad for all the people without power and the damaged trees. Also will those cherry blooms survive or are they blasted for the year? Wishing you a return to more normal weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked the cherry blossoms yesterday when it warmed up a bit and it looks like they are finished for the year. Such a shame since the bees devouring them on sunny late winter days.

      Delete
  5. Wow! Your photographs are amazing and that is very unusual weather for you there. The pictures are beautiful but hopefully it will warm up for you soon and that your trees with be spared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lee! Our tree damage was minimal but looks like the buds that were about to bloom are finished. It could have been a lot worse.

      Delete
  6. Lovely photos, although I can understand you all are having difficult times with the weather. We can see it on the news over here and almost every day there are freak weather reports! I hope spring comes to you soon and that the damage isn’t too bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow we made it to the news overseas! That is something. Winter storms that come at the end of the season are harder to digest since we are just itching for the next season to begin. For two days it seemed that everything stood still and just glimmered and sparkled as if we were in a fairyland.

      Delete
  7. This is so beautiful...a beauty we rarely see as we don't see much ice except maybe in March. Glad you finally had your power restored....those winds have been here all February and that 0 and below zero windchill too.

    I hope the flowers ready to bloom came back to life and are blooming soon. The pinkish ice was pretty, but not at the expense of the trees bursting into bloom....stay safe and warm Karin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna! I feel for all of you in the deepest winter wonderland. I couldn't bear those temperatures. I suppose we have to make the best of it and find the beauty in it all.

      Delete
  8. Stunning photos. Glad you are safe and well. Hearing those crashes in the dark is terribly unnerving. You never know what you'll find come morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marguerite! It certainly is. We were fortunate. I drove around two days after the storm and there were still trees hanging in power lines and many, many limbs on the side of the road that the utility companies had cut down. It was really rather frightening.

      Delete
  9. Your pictures of the ice are gorgeous!! My especial favorites are the one with the curly grass stems, the cherry, and your dog.

    Glad to hear you didn't lose power for too long. We were forecast to get a half inch of ice and thank goodness we didn't. This area lost power for a week 20 years ago after an ice storm. I remember when we didn't have power for a week after Floyd and that was bad enough.

    When we lived in western PA for 3 years we had very harsh winters and there were places in nearly W. Virginia that didn't have power for a month. I can't even imagine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that would be horrible! There were some areas in the area still without power, and water due to frozen pipes. Thankfully, the temperatures are on the rise and power should be restored to everyone very soon. I am so glad that we don't get too many of these types of storms. This one was enough to last me a while!

      Delete
  10. Hi Karin. The ice is so damaging and causes so much inconvenience, but boy does it make a landscape stunning. Your images show probably the only visual good point to a storm like you have been having. In Niagara Falls, ice on the trees are very common, and only the stronger ones keep taking the inclement weather year after year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, it begs an interesting question whether or not these storms are ways for nature to get rid of the weaker species. Like birds of prey killing the weaker birds which in the end make the flock stronger. The pine trees were hardest hit here. They are tall and thin and can't take the weight of the ice. The hardwoods that I saw with damage are the very old and diseased trees. Is their demise making way for a stronger ecosystem?

      Delete
  11. Ice storms are beautiful but cause so much damage. When I lived in SC, every time we had a bad storm the pines would snap or rip right out of the ground. But it thins the canopy and provides more light/water for the surrounding plants. The birds were sliding on the ice here, too. They seemed so surprised by their sudden ice skating skills. :o)

    ReplyDelete

"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment...I love hearing from you!