It’s a first draft and will probably be deleted, but feedback is welcome. This describes an experience I had tonight. Appleton was hit with a blanket of ice from freezing rain this morning, followed by about 8 inches of snow tonight. As I was shoveling snow on our sidewalk by our large and mostly infertile plum tree, I was amazed at the curious sound the ice-encrusted tree made in the breeze, a sound of tension and friction and crackling. And then I noticed the beauty of the clear ice on the bark and a delicate little icicle hanging from one branch. What a sweet photo that would make! But something went wrong.
My experience made me ponder a few things, and I thought I would write it up somehow. Here’s the first draft:
Ice Storm: The Transgression
Rain this morning moistened the bark of my plum tree
Then froze and made it captive, a wonder
Glistening, completely sheathed and caught up
In this rite of winter, a garden of delight.
As the wind brushed the paired ice and wood
They tinkled and crackled with life
Like a bed of puffed rice on a churning sea of milk.
So unexpected, this call, this voice of ice against bark, –
Was it the sound of friction, or perhaps the yielding of ice
As the tree sought to bend where ice could not,
Or the squeaking of wood pressed to new forms –
I did not know, but I was curious, and listened
Until the breeze faded, and the night was still.
The ice shimmered in the streetlight, most brightly
On a limb near me, where an alien icicle grew from a whisper of ice
And flared out below, a crystal plumb-bob defining up and down,
Or a divine fruit clinging to a brittle stem.
I would return, I promised, in due time to this gift,
And bring lights, reflector, tripod, and camera
To capture this delicacy and celebrate the beauty of ice and bark.
But I must wait and first shovel this sidewalk, my duty.
I soon stopped, as the memory of the sound of crisp ice against bark
Made me curious anew: I reached back to touch, just once, to touch and feel
And stir that tingling voice of two natures moving as one.
Unthinking, hurried, a random twig – and then I heard the breaking
Of a sacred thread and the gentle crunch of a fruit falling into the snow,
A promise unkept.