These last few days were some of the most exciting and exhilarating of my life- genuinely the ideal. On Thursday, from about sundown, as I describe in
Sonnet CIV- The Great Ice Storm of 2008
An ice poured gently over quad and hill,
The chromeclouds stepping with a cantor gait
As glaze-apparelled trees accepted fate
And waited, heavy branches leaning till
They ripped like carrion in nature's maw.
The glassy forest, less from planter's hand
Than metallurgy, was a deathly land,
The glow from headlights everything we saw.
When night and rain were over, we emerged
From flashlight gatherings and ice cream feasts.
As elongated bows to nature ceased,
We watched the ices shatter, and converged
On Taylor Dining Hall, where it was warm,
To share the spirit of the happy storm.
As you may have read, as New Englanders have been witness to, we just had an ice storm the likes of which I have never seen before, and which I doubt I shall see again. Throughout the night, the modest rain continued to fall, eventually burdening the heaviest limbs until they fell to the ground. Despite the damage to almost every tree on campus, that we must now stay five extra days to make up for the Friday and Saturday finals we missed, and that the damage to the woods and scrubbery will be noticable for years to come, it was all well worth it. To post pictures would be an insult to nature: all the photos I have seen do not approach the beauty of the ravaged woods. Friday morning, it was widely said that the woods looked like Dr. Seuss trees [Truffula Trees] for how they leaned with their coats of ice (and in the shaded places, such as the hill, which was hit especially hard, the ice is still largely untouched). Looking sunward through the screen of the weathered woods, I was vaguely reminded of those scenes in old Protestant-themed movies where woods aglow with the sunset serve as a figure for the Providence and Power of God Almighty. The beauty was also surpassing aftre darkness fell. Enjoying a walk through the deserted campus that night, with almost no artificial lights around, I saw my shadow by the full moon for the first time which I can remember; I had gotten to think it was hyperbole when people say it's practically daylight under the full moon, but they are telling the truth. For someone who enjoys walks at all hours, it says something about how much we have all become disconnected from nature. Just a few days ago, I read an article telling largely the same story: a British children's dictionary is replacing many nature (and royal and ecclesiastical) words with gadgets and computer terms.
Socially, a campus which had been buzzing with finals bitterness the day before was united, and brought to a healthy cheer, and without any injuries which I have heard of. After a night of romping around the dorm with our flashlights, and devouring all the melting ice cream, we awoke to a gray sky and continuing rain. Some early risers explored the campus in bands, and like little Marco Polos ventured to all the far reaches to document the storm when it was pristine. Around noon, when everyone else awoke, everybody was snapping pictures like Paris Hilton was there. Carefree for a few days, everyone was in a good mood, and while most left campus, I just slept and read in a Salisbury hall lounge for two nights, finally finding time to finish the Utopia. When the power finally returned last night, and everyone was going wild, all I could mutter was: "Reprehensible energy." thinking of Machiavelli, I thought of how, even when nature overcomes man's preparations with such a blessing, he rushes to dam himself up again. I doubt if I ever shall enjoy such a quiet, monastic atmosphere again.
[My SGA picture for this year. My eyes may be almost shut, but it's as James Dean as I'll ever look.]
Curiously, a few people blamed our Pundit for the whole thing! Just before- I mean, like ten seconds before- the power went out in SixMen, I had been telling a friend how fun it would be if there were a great power outage. Coincidentally, I had just turned in my last written assignment that evening; almost everyone else still had papers to do. When one guy said, "Thanks a lot, ~," as he left campus, I could only laugh, and smile. If I am responsible for this storm, I deserve great thanks!