On the weather maps, the monster storm was a sinuous creature poised to swallow half the east. We girded our loins (whatever that entails) and prepared for a power outage, but little more than an inch of pellet ice fell. But the storm hadn’t gone away; it was merely waiting until after dark to strike. Now there’s the eerie sound of water trying to flow in an ice-filled gutter and the scattered taps of rain or sleet striking the windows. The power goes out, comes on, goes out, and I sit in the darkness wondering where I put my flashlight.
I find the big Coleman battery lantern and discover it no longer works. I have a kerosene lantern but it’s too much trouble and bad smell; it’s almost bedtime anyway. The lights come back on. Better go get an armload of wood from the barn while I’m still dressed — there’s a very good chance I’ll wake to an ice-cold house.
When I turn on the outside light, the spicebush beside the front door is beautiful in its gleaming coat of frozen rain. The branches are just beginning to bow. I wonder what the woods will look like in the morning. The rain is loud and echoey as it strikes the crusted surface of the snowpack: a sound as far removed from the gentle hush of a summer shower as Metallica is from Andrés Segovia.
As I crunch up the driveway, it occurs to me that a day without power wouldn’t be so bad — it would force me to get out and take some pictures, shoot video, maybe even use my new audio recorder to capture the sound of crashing limbs. I think back to the last big ice storm, in January of 2005, and remember that it was my blogging about it at Via Negativa that prompted my cousin Matt to send me his old digital camera, my first, so that the next time I’d be able to take pictures.