ice storm, winter, nature

The Intricacies of Ice Storms

by Emily Ulrich


I never found snow or ice interesting back home in Connecticut, I guess a sort of an enactment of the law of diminishing returns: the more I saw of it, the less appeal it had. It was cursed at, a cold mess, and turned black after the city traffic rolled past it every day for a third of a year. Here in the south, snow is sort of a gift. Once something a monotonous burden not magical after the age of 12, I am now seeing it as a chance to take a breath and slow down.

ice storm, winter, nature

My fiancé’s work put him up in a hotel so he didn’t have to drive the 20 miles back from Raleigh to Durham only to return to Raleigh again after the storm. Of course I decided to join him instead of locking myself away in fear of some snowflakes taking over the world, and what I found was unexpected.

ice storm, winter, nature

Just outside of our hotel I found a world of intricacy. At a brief glance things looked all the same: cars, trees, ground covered in white and then again with a sheath of ice. But as I looked closer at the all too familiar urban roadside vegetation, I discovered an illuminated community. The plants I saw were braving the storm, holding themselves at the ready for whatever came next. Greens stayed green, and everything remained hardy. Under the sheath on the crape myrtle lay a moss rainbow, on the branch of an oak held on tight the acorn caps, and the sweet gum seed showed signs of love. An encouraging reminder to look closer, and feel more deeply.

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