My enthusiasm for an early season blizzard was rewarded (punished?) severalfold. Be careful what you wish for! Remember the section about potential winter storm damage in my last post?
Impacts Travel conditions will remain difficult to hazardous due to snow covered roads and visibilities occasionally dropping below one half mile. In addition the weight of the snow and light ice accumulations may lead to additional scattered power outages… (via National Weather Service, Alert: Winter Storm Warning)
The weight of the snow was significant not only because of how much snow fell, but also because of how unbelievably wet and dense the snow was. It reminded me of spring snow. Heavy!
The good news is that it looks beautiful. Postcard perfect. Except when you notice the destruction wrought by the weight of the wet snow. That’s the bad news. So many trees were overwhelmed by the snow load. Massive limbs snapped off of numerous white pines. The majority of the birch trees are doubled over. Some will recover. Others will remain bowed forever. And, sadly, a few will snap.
Swinger of Birches
I can’t help but draw upon one of my favorite poems, “Birches” by Robert Frost, albeit with a shadow of sadness. Here are a couple of the most relevant lines. First, this chummy setup.
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
As ice-storms do… (The Poetry Foundation)
And then Frost’s melancholic realization that the trees will never reach for the stars again.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. (The Poetry Foundation)
Surveying the Winter Storm Damage
My wish for a x-country ski outing before departing for the holidays was granted, though I might have thought it through more thoroughly before hurling my pipe dream into the falling flakes.
But as we glided into the first wooded area we realized how many trees were broken.
Susan and I enjoyed the first leg of our ski, from house past the barns and through the orchard. Proceeding through the gates in across the first meadow we were still excited about the fresh snow which so completely blanketed everything.
But as we glided into the first wooded area we realized how many trees were broken. We skied all around the perimeter, and I even attempted a few inner loops. Everywhere devastation. At one point I even had to remove my skies to climb through twisted limbs completely obstructing the trail. Susan waged a valiant war against the limbs still laden but not yet snapped, poking and prodding with her pole to release the snow so the branches could spring up. But there were so many trees and there was so much snow. As darkness fell we glided back to the house with spirits sagging.
I’ll revisit this in a couple of days, perhaps in more detail. Or perhaps just with additional photos. For now I must hustle to get packed…