Friday, December 27, 2013



I wanted to write and wish everyone a warm and happy Christmas, and I was planning to do just that, but nature intervened.  Three days before Christmas an unusual kind of storm started brewing around here.  Something to do with layers of warm and cold air in uncommon positions in the atmosphere.  The air temperature was well below freezing and yet heavy rain fell at times, not snow.  And then the temperatures got even colder.  Sub-zero at night.  So on Monday morning Ryan and I walked around our neighborhood marveling at the ice covering everything.  Maybe half an inch.  Stunning, if one could set aside its hints of treachery. 

Every pine needle, every blade of grass, every twig and berry outlined in glassy cold ice.  So beautiful.

As the day went on, though, more rain fell.  It was foggy, too.  We thought the storm was over.  But no.  Surprise, surprise.  The ice built up and built up until tree limbs bowed and broke under its weight.  The big maples out front were no exception.  The ice was about an inch thick at this point, more in some places.  Here I am (in the middle distance) looking at some of the damage. 

On the other side of the house, one of the maple limbs came down and took our power lines with it.  We had no electricity for a day, and no phone until last night.  The same thing happened up and down our street.  What a mess.  But everyone is safe, and I am so grateful for our woodstove, which kept us warm, and kept the water pipes from freezing.  I'm also grateful for the extraordinary utility workers who gave up their Christmases to work around the clock all over downeast Maine.  We certainly didn't expect to get any services back as quickly as we did, another surprise.  We ended up having a lovely Christmas Day with two different branches of our families.  And now a few inches of new snow is covering the ice, which has not melted and is still causing trouble for people all over this rural area.  I hope everyone is warm and safe.  Prayers and blessings on us all. 

And one book-story, for Christmas.  Before the storm, Ryan and I went on a gift-hunting excursion together, through several nearby towns, and we split up a few times during the day to run secret errands.  At the end of the day I arranged to meet him in a local bookstore.  He came in and found me holding a big book.  I said, "I know I shouldn't be buying anything for myself right now, but I don't think I can leave the store without this, forgive me!"  He looked at me and at what I was holding and said, "That's the book I've been trying to find for you all day!"  He'd already asked for it in other places and no one had a copy.  He knows me better than I know myself, since I didn't even know it had been published yet.  But he knew.  I talked him into wrapping it up for me and putting it under the tree.  I don't need to be surprised.  In fact so often I'd rather not be.     

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