Christmas was singlehandedly shaped... like frost on a window pane by a fierce and crippling ice storm which quite literally encrusted Rockport... and all of Ontario into a beautiful, but potentially deadly ice- shrouded world of thick crystal. While one could admire the visual beauty of the landscape itself... that feeling was short-lived in the wake of the crippling cold of -22C. The paradox created by the presence of the two made the situation very difficult to assimilate... it so seamlessly blended both beauty and fear.
The absence of electrical power commencing at 6:10 am on the morning of December 21st across Ontario quickly chilled and evaporated any thoughts of a "Winter Wonderland." The ensuing cold was bone chilling and the blackness disorienting. It was obvious that these conditions were not in any way going to be temporary... so it was necessary to go into a survival mode approach to daily life... immediately. And we did!
Ironically... as you might recall, we faced this very same cold and light-less pre-Christmas scenario last year, when Allison, Andrew and Lisa had come to join us in Rockport for a Sherman Christmas. We more than survived the event and actually enjoyed the situation... finding a truer and more memorable take on the true meaning of Christmas - Family! This year... Bryn and Liam were to join us here and were to arrive by bus in Kingston on the evening of December 22nd. Needless to say... reaching Kingston in either direction was unsafe and absolutely out of the picture. We were all quite simply... iced in... and helpless to move. Every action would need to be directed towards finding necessary heat, light, fresh water and food. Nothing else mattered... and technology could not provide the solutions to these needs.
Fortunately... the media had projected the storm's coming and given our dilemma last year, Deb and I headed into nearby Gananoque on December 20th... a full day ahead of the storm and got the supplies we thought that we might need to carry us for an extended period until power could be restored. Those purchases included three cases of bottled water... a variety of hearty soups... packages of wieners... bread and buns, extra tea lights, candles, a 6 volt battery for our large emergency light. Deb had already made a lovely quiche for Allison's planned visit on Dec 22nd. So we were well stocked in these basic essentials.
I spent extra time on the wood pile, preparing a goodly supply of fireplace-ready wood and kindling. I went down to the bowels of our basement and resurrected my trusty aluminum camp coffee maker, a light aluminum camping set of pots, two sleeping bags and my trusty LED hat light which snaps on the brim of my ball cap. All that remained to be done was to fire up the fireplace with a substantial bed of coals to keep the fireplace at work... and I knew... that in this deep cold that our air tight stove would be voraciously hungry... but more than up to the heating task. By late afternoon, we were well prepared for our "pioneer re-enactment"... HA HA!! Deb even melted snow atop the firebox to provide hot water for doing dishes and hygienic purposes. I will skip the set up I created to handle "waste management". Suffice it to say that it worked ... and despite having no pump to deliver water to our bathrooms... it didn't hang around long! HA HA!!!
Being placed in this redefined daily lifestyle really drove home a cogent thought as I sat immersed in the cheery glow of the fireplace. Despite our advanced state of modern technology and dependency upon electronic gadgetry to perform for us and to entertain us... sustenance really comes down to the five essentials for survival: Light, warmth, fresh water, food and shelter.It hasn't changed at all really... since humankind first walked upright and huddled collectively in caves around a primordial fire. For two consecutive days... we faced that absolute reality. I gained a greater respect for the first settlers and residents of Rockport who eked out a living along this vast river....basically cut off and alone in their world without roads, telephones, medicine or the promise of a better tomorrow really. It must have been a challenge just to survive... and they did... just as we have.
Here is a montage of photos to provide you some visual insight of our experience. I know that the beauty bedazzles... but think..... COLD! BRRRRRRRRRRR!
Beneath the icy arches lies The Boat House Restaurant.... no meal service till Spring!
Our "Islesview" Ice Palace... winter-locked!
Welcome to Rockport... the Crystal Palace of the Thousand Islands!
Looking down into Rockacpulco... no tourist traffic today... or visitors to The Paint Box Gallery on the extreme right!
Birches... bowed in prayer? Yes... praying for release from the weight of their icy head dresses!
An elm casualty at my daughter Lisa's. Just missed the studio!
Blue skies... what a blaze of colour and light! Breath-taking!
Icy Altar Screen for St Brendan's RC Church
Fire n' Ice...
Narrow's Lane Ice Road
A tough ol' shag bark hickory loses the battle at Lisa's Ice storm 2- Lisa 0!!!
It snowed yesterday and today... causing more damage. Hoping it will end and that the wind won't enter the picture. Roads are once again safe to travel. My hat is off to the gutsy and dedicated road and hydro crews that pulled our bacon out of the fire in record time. AS I speak... at least 100,000 + residents of Toronto are still without power and necessities five days later. A cold and dastardly Christmas memory for them. My thoughts and prayers are with them... many of them elderly!
I did manage two small attempts to satisfy my art urge in the candle light. I have another piece on the easel that you will enjoy... whenever I can get to it!
Allison's best Pals salute "Her"!!!
My card and Ice Storm Commemorative envelope for my SweetHeart... and Pioneering Pal Deb! Sorry about the "flip out"!!
Until then... Stay warm! Stay safe!... and.. Stay tuned!
Good Painting... to ALL!!