Advent

A Silent Loveliness?

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go;
The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow;
Hath sent the hoary frost of Heav’n, the flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent loveliness on hill and wood and field.

We had ice last night, all night. I assumed there would be no school, but quickly realized I had no way to be sure. What had happened to our battery-operated radio? Pure Luck, ever heroic, retrieved it from the trunk of his car (why was it there?), and went out for batteries at 7 a.m.

When Light Princess came down to a dark, cold house — the power went off about 3:15 a.m. — she looked out and the first thing she said was, "The poor trees."

She doesn't remember the Ice Storm of 2008, almost 11 years ago, when she was two-and-a-half. We were lucky then, too. I remember going out to Denny's for brunch with a neighbor and our collective five children, ages 2-11. When we got home the power had been restored, and that happened for us today, too. Today, we took a field trip to Becky's Diner followed by a side errand to Starbucks, a look at more trees, and we came home to an apparently recently restarted furnace.

O’er white expanses sparkling pure the radiant morns unfold;
The solemn splendors of the night burn brighter than the cold;
Life mounts in every throbbing vein, love deepens round the hearth,
And clearer sounds the angel hymn, “Good will to men on earth.”

Eleven years ago, friends brought their food to store in our fridge and
we had a big meal together. At First Parish, the church became a
shelter, complete with cots supplied by LL Bean. Although I hope this
won't be so extreme, I know that's an intensely good memory at church,
that time when everyone worked together to keep people warm and fed,
whether church people our not.

O Thou from Whose unfathomed law the year in beauty flows,
Thyself the vision passing by in crystal and in rose,
Day unto day doth utter speech, and night to night proclaim,
In ever changing words of light, the wonder of Thy Name.

The big maple in front of our house lost several big branches. I heard
them fall, hard. We saw them in the dim light of a stormy dawn, lying
beside Pure Luck's car. Did they miss? Or did they slide right off its
ice-covered shell? Later he stood in the driveway and witnessed the
fall of another huge branch. This one took out his passenger side
mirror and smashed the windshield. Now State Farm is part of our day, doing their best to bring us the peace of a $100 deductible and 80% coverage of a rental car, if Pure Luck can bring himself to pay the other 20%.

We're tucked away, hoping the power will be restored at the High School Across the Bridge, where Light Princess and her cohorts in Musica de Filia have a concert scheduled for tonight. We know it may not be that way, we live in a place where winter interferes with Christmas, beautiful or not.

For now, it's a quiet day, complete with the odd silently loveliness of broken branches. We wait to hear about the evening; we think we'll bake cookies; but first, we need to watch "The Grinch."

Hope you're keeping warm today, whatever your weather. Thirteen days until Christmas.

("All Beautiful the March of Days," words by Frances Wile, sung to Forest Green, one of my personal favorites)

11 thoughts on “A Silent Loveliness?”

  1. Saw news of the storm and thought first of you – glad to know you’re snuggled up warm with the ones you love.

  2. We were fortunate not to lose power, not to fall while walking the dog, and that my nephew who had borrowed our car for a trip to the Pioneer Valley got back safely — and that Iconic Maine Business was closed last night!

  3. Both these posts have been so beautiful. We held our breath here, thinking we might well have power outages with the ice, but it warmed up just enough, thank God to spare the trees and the utility company.
    When I moved into this hour 14 years ago the city had a program to plant trees– any trees you wanted– on the sidewalk perimeter around your house. I chose a variety of maple and a Bradford (Callery) pear. The maple is lovely. The pear is gone. After losing limb after limb five years in a row in relatively mild snowfalls and icing, the city took it down last spring. They saved me the hard decision: I hated to see it go, but I also hated the thought that it might take down a power line or worse. I have since learned that people who “know trees” hate that pears are so widely planted here, because they are not appropriate to the snow belt.
    I’m thankful that you are all well, and I’m thankful for your beautiful reflections.

  4. Whoa. I’m really sorry about Pure Luck’s windshield, though if he was standing out there, I’m really glad that he wasn’t the one who got hit!

  5. Evocative post. I love the counterpoint with the hymn. Tonight is the largest full moon of the year. It will look especially beautiful in your ice-covered world.

  6. Brett, it may be too overcast for moon-watching here tonight, but we did see the dramatic high tide this morning.
    Mags, you stood under that tree this summer, it sweeps its arms over our whole front yard. I hope we don’t lose more branches; we’re watching one that broke but hasn’t yet fallen.

  7. i am not fond of ice storms….give me snow or rain, but not an ice storm….I too hate the broken branches and destruction….hope all is well soon

  8. No ice here, just wind and rain.
    Wow, was that ice storm really so long ago? I had a friend whose baby was due right around then–which makes him almost 11! We were lucky in that storm–our neighborhood had buried power lines and few trees, so we had power and little damage. But I remember how hard hit other areas were, and how long some were without power.
    And sorry about Pure Luck’s car, but glad the limb didn’t fall on HIM!

  9. I can’t imagine an ice storm, as they just don’t happen here…but you made the experience very real and as ever write so beautifully.
    I didn’t know the carol either, and love it. Thank you.

  10. Saw the weather reports from up there and thought of you too. Glad the power is on, and hope the branch damage is minimal. Stay safe and stay warm. Hugs to you.

  11. Oh, I agree with. LP. The poor, poor trees. I’m sorry about the windshield and the insurance hassle.
    Stay warm and safe.

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