Thoughts on Ice – one more thing to thank for

Brrrrr… but utterly beautiful.  Snow or not, I would still say Yes.  Have a cup of tea, sit by the fireplace, and stare at the white wonderland outside. Isn’t it one of the best relaxation you can have at home? It is a luxury for me, for someone who does not need to go out and work regularly.
There is no snow in Taiwan, only on a couple of mountain peaks. As I recall I only saw snow once in Taiwan after we hiked for hours and finally hit the mountain top. At that single event, I suffered a severe frozen foot and had to stay inside the hotel while everyone else was out cheering and tossing snowballs left and right.When you grow up in a tropical region, you have no experience whatsoever being on snow and don’t know what snow gear to prepare and how thick the socks should be. It only snows 2-3 times a year here in Willamette Valley. People are not trained to drive and function normally on snowy days. I simply quit driving if the road condition is slightly doubtful. My car was sliding out of control on snow and I could not stop it but let it bump into the curb and another time, the bridge railing.  Thank God, I am still alive.

More than three decades ago, I went on a business trip to Cleveland, Ohio in wintertime.  Having been there half a dozen times, I thought I had all my warm gear with me, heavy coat, glove, scarf, stocking hat and I wore a long boot, fully-lined leather boot.  It was snowing and raining. The hotel called a cab for me.  While I was waiting, I decided to call my client to reconfirm our meeting time. Thomas, the import manager of the company, mentioned on the phone that they were ready to place an order with me. An order? It was the first order! I had pursued this big company (still in business) for almost two years, and they were ready to officially become my customer. My heart was beating hard and almost leaped out of my chest.
I grabbed my purse and dashed out of my room. The cab driver was waving at me outside the hotel entrance. I gave him a big smile and sped up my pace towards the cab. The next thing I noticed, I was looking at the blue sky with my four wings up in the air. I came down hard and flat on my back. Cold, hurt and embarrassed, I managed to get up and throw myself into the car. The driver was worried, but I used my fake smile to reassure him that I was OK. It was too big a deal for me that I let my emotion take control of me. I stumbled on ice because I was in the hurry and it is also because the leather boot made in Taiwan in those days did not have slip-proof grids.

 Snow came down yesterday, well, it was more like a blizzard. I had the urge to go out and snap a few shots, but it was so cold and I dare not drive down the hill myself, so I decided to wait.  Overnight the snow accumulated close to one foot high and stopped. It was raining and the temperature is supposed to go up. If I want to shoot the snow, I had to act now. So, fully dressed, I stepped out of the door.

My goodness, the snow is so deep and hard that it hurts if I just slightly tilted my foot against the edge of it. It is definitely not the powdery and soft snow that I experienced in the ski area. I had to walk slowly and steadily to make sure that I was stepping in the right spot. I am not kidding, I can only take one step at a time. ‘One step at a time’ and ‘one thing at a time’ did not exist in my life, but nature is giving me the lessons.

From distance, it is all white. Come closer, it is all clear, crystal clear.  Every single tree, limb, and leaf is covered with ice. It is icing, not just frosting. This is the first time that I had the chance to enjoy crystal trees and bushes since I moved to Oregon.  Everything I saw is coated with ice, crisp and solid.

Want some frozen berries from a crabapple tree? It is frozen good, triple-layer icing, and looks yummy. It is your winter natural ice cream here.
If not for this icing, I would never pay attention to this piece of twig from an oak tree. On normal days, it was just another piece of debris that I have to collect from the ground and put in the compost bin, but today it jumped out on me.  I viewed it as a piece of treasure.

It was treacherous to just walk around in the neighborhood. I actually stepped deep into a few ditches and scared myself to death. This reminds me of those who hiked across the mountains and ravines covered in snow and what kind of trauma they could face. When we are deep into nature, our life is so vulnerable. A pitfall can lead to a major disaster.

In the past, I questioned the wisdom of taking risks for unprecedented exploration and taunting experiments. And now I appreciate these pioneers and heroes.  It is for them, that we are inspired to strive for mission impossibles and that is the reason that we get to enjoy new technology and new toys in our life today and beyond.

A simple example like mine. If I did not dare to walk in hazardous conditions, I would not have chance to explore these icing up close.

The next day, ice was gone and snow was melting.  I could not find my crystal tree, frozen berries, and icicles anymore. They are temporary and we cannot wait around. When the opportunity popped up, here we go. Act Now.

Olympic races were on TV.  We like to watch figure skating like everyone else.  Just for fun, I took a few panning shots off the TV. These figure skaters work so hard to perfect every movement. It shows particularly clear from the pictures.  It is an art form that human beings have created to maximize our body potential. People devoted years of life to coming here to compete for God, the moment of fame. What I see is their spirit and the physical beauty presented through their extraordinary performance.

TV was on and I was attentive to Olympic broadcasting… We heard a loud noise from behind our house, a sharp Crack sound, then immediately a Bang, a sound like an extremely heavy something hitting the ground. The (at least) 50 feet oak tree could not handle a whole load of ice and finally gave in, and fell to the ground.  Thank God, it hit the common area between our next-door neighbor and our house.

This tree normally leaned towards the left side of our house where our office is.  It is a healthy tree and we did not think it would cause any hazard.  But nature runs its own course, this tree may have done with its life spam and due back to heaven. You know what, I just escaped another potential trauma !!! Do you believe there is a Powerful Hand Above? I do, I do and I do.

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