In Tennessee it's been made doubly tragic by the fact that the Department of Transportation isn't generally equipped with the plows and salt trucks made standard in colder climes. Drivers aren't as experienced in slippery weather.
There has been loss of life and property as highway arteries have clogged with traffic collisions, multi-car pile ups, and ditch diving.
Huge areas lost power while temperatures on February 15 plunged to 3 degrees and lower.
Air flights were cancelled, airports shuttered.
And for me and my family, the timing was particularly heart-wrenching, as we received the news that my husband's father died. We were ice-locked and travel-blocked at every turn, and unable to go to the funeral.
Old Man Winter has felt particularly cruel this year.
Of course, as it always is with nature, there is beauty among ruins. Loveliness amidst savagery.
I ventured out of the house today; the first time in nearly a week. I went only as far as the backyard, searching through the aftermath with my camera, for a glimpse of hope. I wasn't disappointed.
I'm affectionately calling these photos my "ice collection". Tidier in the house, anyway, than the mouthful of icicle Edith brought in for a new chew toy yesterday.
I have a small outdoor table with a crosshatch metal surface, and as the slab of ice on top melted enough to slide off, I got this amazing honeycomb sort of thing:
|Or is it a chess board for ice fairies?|
I also have on my patio a wrought iron chair with a high back that looks to be a throne to me. It's one of my favorite things, and I had no idea how it could interact with nature in all her seasons to give me some wonderful inspiration. It appears in many photos.
|Ice Cliffs of Insanity|
|Curlicue on Ice|
Then, to my surprise, as I ventured deeper into the yard, my hair got buzzed by a low-flying object. I looked up to find a robin, cheerfully calling, just in front of me.
I quickly snapped.
I realized in that moment, that in the same yard of cold ice and twisted metal, looking all the glory of an apocalyptic wasteland, sat a sunny patch of wildwood. In the wildwood, in a pinprick of light, sat a robin.
I thought of my father-in-law, then. He loved nature, and taught me about birds, and what they eat, what they look like, and was always devising some sort of contraption to keep squirrels away from their seed. He always enjoyed watching birds as much as I ever have.
I didn't get to go to his funeral to say goodbye. My heart has been frozen cold, and sad. But as he went from this life to the next, maybe I didn't need to say goodbye.
He's the song in the robin in my backyard.
I miss you, Len.