In our area, just a couple of weeks ago we had a late winter storm. It was not expected to be much more than an inconvenience with a bit of snow and a bit of ice. It was expected to be short lived. But sometimes the expected is not what you get. You get more and are totally taken by surprise.
Our area was hit with enough ice that thousands of homes lost electrical power for days. For many that meant no water because they have wells that work with electric pumps. Also, it meant no heat. But that is not all that happens when half an inch of ice coats every surface – roads, ground, houses, bushes, and trees. There is a lot of surface area that makes up a tree – even trees with no leaves on them because it is winter. Ice gets heavy when it is in huge quantities. The weight of the ice and the cold temps snapped large limbs and tree trunks like they were toothpicks in the hands of a giant.
As we drove to and from church this morning, I was struck by the contrast of beauty and tragic devastation. The beauty of God’s blooming spring as renewal of life takes place in the plant world. But I grieved at the brutal tragedy and ugliness of splintered trees so numerous that one can’t begin to count them. The forests around our area, small glens and large acreage, have been culled and crushed. Stately Magnolias, a true gift of stately beauty in the South, defaced with half stripped off. Magnolias keep their leaves and they are very large leaves. This means there would be a lot of ice buildup on them and a lot of weight.
Winter storms of the soft, fluffy snowy type are beautiful and often a welcome diversion here in the South. Even ice storms have a beauty that is intoxicating to the beholder. If you’ve ever awakened to a morning when all around you was encased in a crystal bloom of ice and a brilliant sun was sparking each and every prism of ice, you know what I mean. But there is a cold, hard, ugly side to a winter storm.
And here in the beautiful awakening of blooming pink, fuchsia, and white trees touched with the loveliness of the green of spring, we are seeing the contrast that results from the cold, hard, and ugly side of a winter storm. But, be assured…….
“God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world….”*
* "Pippa's Passing " written by Robert Browning