I have been severely remiss and self-centered in not keeping up with, or blogging about, the human-created mess in Ukraine. Update bulletins from friends in Kiev paint a bleak picture of the ongoing political crisis, with protesters being brutally treated in the main square of that beautiful city, and evidence of undesirable meddling by the powers that be of the country's large northeastern neighbor. I will be more specific in a future post.
Much closer to home, people are attempting to deal with the natural mess resulting from last week's severe ice storm. In the daylight, the destruction stretches far inland from what was visible curbside in the dark. This is a photo of one of my mother's neighbor's yards:
Most other residents have cleaned things up as best they can, and huge stacks of branches and entire cords of wood are lining the sidewalks, waiting for county trucks to come get them. The aroma of pine sap suffused the warm air when I drove around the area this afternoon. I love the smell, but looking up at the shattered trees, at tears in the bark where car-sized pieces had shorn away (many falling not just into the yards, but also onto the houses, gouging holes in the shingles and breaking windows) made me grateful I was in a newer neighborhood, with smaller, less lethal shrubbery. At several points by the road, there were waist-high makeshift tripods of wood pieces, like the sort you see holding up cast iron cooking pots in old photos of frontier settlers--these indicated where the thick metal and concrete covers of storm drains had been smashed. They reminded me of illustrations of the broken Stone Table in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, when Aslan comes back to life. The skin on my mother's arms is covered with purple mottled bloodspots from carrying rough branches to the curb. She needed elbow-length welder's gloves instead of those thin, short gardening ones she was wearing.