Writing from the ice band, that relatively narrow swath in the big storm that tumbled through here over the past couple of days. North of us there were many inches of snow, south of us a smaller amount of ice. Ice storms have been (along with tornados) my biggest Midwest disaster fears (I just don't have much room to think about the New Madrid fault, despite being awakened by an earthquake a couple of years ago.)
From my journal: The actual precipitation is over, the trees and power lines are coated with a layer of ice, the wind has picked up and gusts at 30-40 mph occasionally and a bit of snow falls now and then. I think this is the worst ice event since I moved here and it’s very surreal. I keep thinking of the fragment of lyrics I wrote a couple of years ago:
It’s bitter and beautiful
where the Snow Queen reigns,
where icy winds roar from the plains,
and the crows fly in
to feast on all that remains.
That’s what it’s like in its essence, though I haven’t seen a single crow. It’s the sounds that are so eerie. The wind blows and the trees crackle and creak. The wind chimes sound and just now I heard dozens of sparrows calling in the bushes in our yard.
It's the loss of power during an ice storm that has me spooked, and all the awful stories of people going days into weeks without it in some areas. The fact that I live in a small city and close to its main roads has somewhat mitigated my fears, but ever since Katrina, I have an awareness that disasters can demolish whole cities. You'd think I'd have been well prepared for an ice-storm related power outage, but alas I am not.
I gathered together my meager supplies: 8 cans of Sterno, 2 emergency 50-hour lamps, a bright orange AM/FM radio/light with batteries, solar, and hand-crank power sources. I imagined closing off doorways with plastic (a la the old Homeland Security advice for attack situations), donning many more layers and spending days bundled in blankets. I joked (but not really joking at all ) about Clover being our alternate heat source.
My improvised Sterno stove
The good news is that we did not (yet) lose power, and, with a few exceptions, have had Internet access.
Besides making me aware of a need for us to acquire better emergency supplies and plans, I have spent the last two days being immensely grateful for everything I do that requires electricity. Every time I washed and dried clothes, took a hot shower, did dishes, cooked food, I said thank you. Every time I charged my cell phone and iTouch and camera battery, socialized with friends online, watched the news and weather or a favorite TV show...I was acutely aware of how all these things depended upon electricity. And I was grateful for it.
I was also aware of all that I do that I love to do that doesn't require electricity: weave, knit, spin, read books, make collages, Tai Chi, play guitar (though I just doodle more than play), sing (weeeellllll, using the word loosely), dream, meditate, write (I've always kept a couple of old typewriters around, both for the retro look of the type, and, well, just in case there's no power.) There's a need for light for much of that, but even at its murkiest, through clouds, the sun provides hours of it.
I haven't honored the time and Brigid as I'd like, but I wonder if electricity isn't a form of fire and that to feel this gratitude isn't a way of honoring this goddess of fire and light. I'll order my beeswax candles for the year, and maybe send in my poems for the Max Ehrmann competition, tie a ribbon outside tonight and hope she'll pass by again to bless it.
Saori Weaving Update - Hats
I'm on the 6th and final part of my long fabric I'll make hats of. Here's some pictures of the yarn I chose and the resulting woven fabric of part 5:
Winding the main yarn, a hand-dyed fine cotton boucle called Cotton Warbler from Indiana dyeing artisan Robin Edmundson
. Do check her out, wonderful colors, and I think her prices are very reasonable.
The other yarns.
Labels: hats, ice, saori weaving, winter