Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crystal Shells

We have had two ice storms within the past week. The ambient air temperature is cold enough that when the predicted snow did not fall, but in its place rain fell, it instantly froze on tree branches. (Of course, we just filled our bird feeder before the ice storm hit!)

Last night the second such storm hit, and this time the trees gave way to the ponderous weight. In our yard, we lost about four branches, all from evergreen trees. Thus far, we have not had any entire tree go down.

And, thankfully, we have also not lost power. While central Pennsylvania has been hit, our circumstance is far less difficult than Oklahoma and those central parts of the U.S. that were hard hit last week by ice storms.

I did think of lines from Robert Frost's poem "Birches" as you might guess from the blog title of "Crystal Shells." What an apt description for the way ice encases tree branches.

As I write this blog tonight, our house is being peppered with these "shells." They clatter against the house, raising such a noise the two cats have fled in fright to parts unknown. No doubt, they have crawled under beds or into safe hiding places to ride out the aftermath of the storm.

From Robert Frost's poem "Birches"

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.


RuthieJ said...

Oh Donna, Ice is the worst! I'd rather have a foot of snow than a half-inch of ice. Be careful!

Anonymous said...

The same here 11 miles and 17 minutes West of you, i.e. freezing rain and ice. Beautiful, and treacherous underfoot, and crunchy to drive on. Incidentally re-- your previous blog, I always thought "It was a dark and stormy night" was Snoopy’s opening line, that is Snoopy as in Peanuts.
Love, Father "C"

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The ice laden trees can be beautiful when the sun comes out but ice storms do lots of damage.
You seem to have escaped the worst damage.

Where I live we are not supposed to get Winter rain but we do occasionally now. It leaves a hard crust on the snow that allows predators to attack prey. Later in the year it is hard on the larger animals for they break through this sharp buried crust. Those are they years not many fauns survive.

We had a blizzard today so we have lovely snow with interesting drifts. A good reason to stay home and watch from the windown.

Pissed Off said...

I hate the ice and the cold but I love your pictures. They are fantastic.

Lynne said...

Birches- My favorite poem! That ice world is beautiful.

Anvilcloud said...

Ice is bad although it can make for good pics. As Tossing said, we're knee deep. Make that waist or higher in the front yard where I keep throwing it.

JeanMac said...

Gosh, I'll quit complaining about our weather!

Liza Lee Miller said...

Gorgeous, if chilly, pics. I gotta ask though . . . what's the solar cell on your bird feeder for?

Pam said...

Beautiful photographs. It's a shame that something so gorgeous can be so devastating. Happy to hear you didn't sustain too much damage.

KGMom said...

Thanks to all for commiserating. Truth is--compared to other parts of the country, this storm (Dec. 15-17, 2007) for us hasn't been as bad as it could have been.
It has been, however, spectacular: what with the ice encased trees, the wind gusts (50 mph), and with ice falling against our roof & aluminum siding.
LizaLee--I am chuckling at your question: the solar cell is for an LED that alternates blue & amber. I was going to say--why, for the night feeding birds. But the truth is we bought the feeder for its copper color and got the LED display as a paired feature.

Denise said...

As deadly and as awful as ice can be, it is equally beautiful and breathtaking. The sun glistening on and through ice-laden branches is very awesome. I also echo the be careful comments – I would much rather deal with snow than ice any day.

Climenheise said...

Gorgeous pictures. Almost as lovely as our drive through North Dakota yesterday. Lois and I drove south and west from Steinbach, MB to Cavalier, ND and saw the longest sustained hoarfrost I've ever seen. The trees looked as though they had been dipped in white chocolate and replanted. Amazing frost fortresses of trees planted around homesteads on the open prairie, like some enormous movie set.

The Sunday before we drove from Steinbach two hours south to Thief River Falls, MN, and saw the longest sustained sun dogs we've ever seen. Wonderful long rainbows on either side of the sun on an otherwise clear day. Placed there by the cold and a few ice crystals in the air to refract the sunlight.

And so far, no ice! you should move north to where winter is what God meant it to be. (At least for now: who knows what climate change will bring.)

Anonymous said...

These pictures are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing them!

Beverly said...

Wow! I wouldn't know what to do.

Mary said...

I'm glad you didn't lose power! Ice storms in Maryland were the most beautiful events - just like your photos show. Sun glistening on icicles is breathtaking. Just be careful when walking...

mon@rch said...

I am so glad to hear you guys didn't loose any power and those pictures are just amazing!

LauraHinNJ said...

Lovely Frost poem!