Saturday, February 24, 2007

[Cue Vanilla Ice joke now.]

The three words "Ice Storm Warning" tell you all you need to know about how things are here right now. Falling ice is a strange thing, because one might almost think it rain--until discovering how it's making the world over again in its own image, building carapaces on everything that doesn't move. I was in the darkroom when it started. I emerged to the sound of drumming on the art barn's roof, slipped home through the slickening streets. I've told you before how fragile our power grid is. If we don't lose power overnight, I will be stunned (and grateful: early tomorrow morning, I join in my fourth marathon reading of Paradise Lost, and I'm determined to stick it out for the whole thing this time).

Shocked by my having forgotten to bring home any images for you, after all those hours of making pictures appear on paper, I stepped outside the house to see whether I could catch any of this storm. I'm now even more shocked. There was no time to set up these shots; the ice is falling too hard, and it's so cold out there. I'll tell you: I am not one to get hysterical about the weather (unless there's a tornado warning). But ice storms freak me out. Something about them seems just not right: rain that can't quite keep falling, snow that can't quite freeze up enough. It's a virulently sad kind of storm (says the relentless anthropomorphosist). It's like the kind of sadness that doesn't let up until its accumulated weight is suddenly so great that everything everywhere starts to collapse. (Or like anger. I thought anger first, but it seems too slow and self-terrified to be anger.)

I'm thinking of tonight's images as two views of impending disaster.


Blogger *Bat Girl* said...

Strange, I've never seen sadness in the ice--just remarkably fragile beauty. Once in second grade I tried to write in my school journal about some weeds I'd discovered in the backyard under the downspout, completely encased in ice. But I didn't know what to call a downspout, so I spend most of my time just trying to describe this thing--the hollow pipe that ran down from the gutters. I remember the frustration of not having the word.

Remember the ice storm when the transformer crashed, and the whole sky was lit up in alternating sheets of red and blue? We thought the apocalypse had arrived.

11:23 AM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger Boricua en la Luna said...

I'm with you about ice storms. They're freaky. The ice carapaces (what a great word to describe them!) seem like a skin virus that spreads from tree to tree, turning them into sad glass structures that only resemble but are not actually life forms, like the real ones. I'm so thankful for the thaw.

7:57 AM, February 26, 2007  
Blogger Dr. S said...

@bg: I think that that ice storm happened the year before I arrived in Gambier the first time. It's legendary, though. I love the downspout story. It makes me think (because I'm selfish like that) of my frustration trying to take good pictures of some beautiful weeds down by the environmental center, back in January, and having to fight so hard with the camera that only one of them really came out.

@BelL: I'm so glad for the thaw, too, and glad your dogs finally got to reenter the outdoor world!

11:32 AM, February 26, 2007  

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