Ice Storm

By last Thursday, it was predicted that Nova Scotia would have an ice storm starting sometime on Friday. We often get dire weather predictions and have had Nor’easters and winter storms now five weekends in the past six. I find it lovely for the most part and often stay up late, fire in the wood stove, to watch the incredible power of weather and the resiliency of nature around our home: blowing snow, wild winds, things knocking in the night, wildlife still flying and running around. We’ve been lucky to not have many power outages since living here, but for this storm, widespread outages were predicted. After having a challenging work week, with just finishing a huge job on Friday morning and anger and embarrassment about Ottawa’s lack of doing something about the misinformed, racist truckers convoy that’s seemingly funded by conservative politics and other accelerationist loons, I increasingly felt it was time to unplug for a bit, get outside (despite the weather), dive into a book, and other things to get my mind off everyday life.

Friday morning, I had literally just finished this big job I worked on all week and our power began flickering. It was just before lunchtime, but I did not take a lunch in case our power went out. By 1:30, flickers turned into an outage that would last for the next fifty or more hours. I texted my manager and let her know I was out for the day. I believe most people were, as we’re all centered around the Halifax area. Our cellular data allowed us to make phone calls and texts. I called my mom Friday night, and we had a wonderful talk, but I was sad to learn that my brother had Covid (and he lives with her). She is 80, so I had some concerns. Updated note: she is double-vaxed and boosted and did not get Covid, which is such a relief! From what I’ve heard from my American family members, while masks are still supposedly mandated in the states, they’re not enforced, and a lot of people just don’t bother with them. Just my mom’s little town alone has about as many cases as our entire province, and we have a higher vaccination rate.

So, over the two days our power was out, we had to move food from the fridge outside to the cooler, cook on top of the woodstove, and find things to do that didn’t involve being plugged in. On Friday, by the dying light of the day, we played a board game in the sun room. Afterward, we did our normal Friday night calls and then charged our phones up with solar phone charges. The next day we ate by wood-stove warmed food, had nice talks, and did a lot of reading. We also took photos around the house. I was struck by the resiliency of the birds. We saw robins pecking into apples still on the tree, morning doves congregated in trees–all fat birds, ruffling out their down feathers out to stay warm. Squirrels ran about the icy yard. Trees lost branches due to ice and freeze. Things bounce back. They usually do. We took advantage of our last warm water last night and took brief showers. Today, Morgan finally went out to buy some more non-perishable food in case the power didn’t come back on. But while he was out, around 3:00 pm or so, the lights flickered on. I was forever grateful this weekend for our wood stove, which provided a heat and cooking source in sub-zero temps. Some of our neighbors ran generators, and I felt badly for those who had nothing.

In the fifty hours with no power, I read a lot. I made more headway into Robert Macfarlane’s Mountains of the Mind, read my own novella Bird Song again (I love that story, even though it didn’t sell well), and read Mary Alice Monroe’s The Summer Girls, drawn to certain aspects of the book, namely the respect for sea life and the term Mammaw, which is endearing to me. I also read some of a book I contributed to a few years ago, Tales from the River, an anthology of nonfiction river memoirs by Stormbird Press. I had written about rafting down the Atnarko River, near Bella Coola, BC. I loved re-reading that story. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but back then Mom was still able to travel on her own, and she came up with us, as well as Morgan’s mom, to go on that adventure with us.

So, even though the weekend was entirely different than the norm, being offline brings a new perspective, and I miss the days of being outside in the wild more. Before moving here, we spent way more time hiking, running, getting out into the mountains and lakes and rivers of BC. Since we’ve lived here, I think what’s happened is that we’ve been fatigued by Covid and the state of the world in general. Time spent outside is time spent working outside: gardening, planting trees, building fences, weeding, and so forth. Of course, now I felt like writing some, but already I grow tired of the screen. So maybe it is time to get offline and go back to reading this evening. Enjoy some pics of our

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