Snow – Big Deal

The sounds of a long-forgotten battle echoed through the night.

Crack. Bam. BOOM.

I lived in Kansas once. I  knew the sounds of this fight. Tree branches laden with too much winter, crashing and falling, headless of anything in their path.

If you’re lucky, that path does not become yours.

Wednesday morning, we were lucky.

Branches decorated the front yard. One of them practically was the front yard. It lay across the yard, across the front walk, into the drive ….

But not, mercy be praised, across the car. As the great Maxwell Smart once put it, “Missed it by that much!”

Back in the flatlands, we hadn’t been that lucky.

In Kansas, a shattered scene like this usually means one thing: ice. The fury of a Great Plains ice storm is something to behold, preferably from a distance, like the region’s tornadoes and straight-line winds.

A kind ice storm will seal off your car more effectively than Saran Wrap ever dreamed of. If you’re fortunate, you can pop a trunk and shatter the seamless sheet; otherwise, you’re left picking and scraping at the unyielding surface, praying for the first hint of weakness.

A less than kind storm will take branches … and casualties. Heaven help anyone or anything unlucky enough to be under a tree when the ice comes. One elm branch that missed our home in Emporia had an arch in it big enough to walk through.

The other one failed to miss the windshield of our car. That wasn’t the death stroke for the Battered Blue Buick, but it was the sign that its days had become numbered, and that the number did not have many digits.

Storms like that invariably get you thinking – well, once you complete the stream of profanity and the calls to insurance companies. You start to realize how closely beauty and danger can lie together, how quickly futures can change at the crack of a branch.

How lucky any of us are to have what we have. And whom we have.

Through every storm, we’ve had each other. We’ve had friends and neighbors who have helped clear debris, cut down branches, even guide a car to the body shop. And we’ve had a great deal of gratitude for all of it.

We still do.

Now it’s time to clean up. To assess. To get on with life until the next inevitable snow, or wind, or whatever.

And – for just a moment – to be grateful that nothing worse has come down from the branch office.

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