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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kindness, Despair, Expectation

"Beauty is important in this fragile life"
Jan Karon

Yes, the ice is pretty on my old watering can. 
But that ice from Ice Storm Pax caused at least nine deaths that I know of. On the February eleven the storm came in the night. Trees and limbs begins to fall. I awoke to an old dogwood tree on our roof. There was a constant cacophony of limbs falling all day and into the next night.

 Joe arrived from work before the roads were blocked by trees. Transformers began to blow up and shoot blue flames across the sky. We had power lines in our front yard for days. We were without power for five and half days.


Our neighbor, Gary, who lives down the gravel road we live on
 where eight trees were down walked three miles in the storm to a lawn mower shop to buy a chain saw. He walked back with the heavy saw and then helped clear our road. All of us were there picking up limbs and clearing. We also cleared the paved road beyond the stop sign.  

On Saturday Gary came with his chain saw and helped cut the dogwood off our roof. 
He asked for nothing but for us to wave at him as he drives by. 
That is extraordinary kindness.  


Joe and I have taken 19 truck loads of tree limbs from the
front yard alone. We have not started on the back yard or side yards. Every muscle in my body aches. Joe would never hire anyone to help us and that is fine. The limbs are not going anywhere. I have been in a state of despair off and on. We both sort of lost time there for a few days living in the dark, picking up tree after tree with no end in sight. It is rather disheartening still.


We have lost many beautiful ornamental trees and the large dogwood.
 It shaded my flower garden which you have seen here frequently. I have high expectations that my flower garden will be a sunny spot now. Different and better. I am installing a few David Austin Roses soon. I need ordinary garden chores to do.

Ordinary is good:}

 Our yellow house is in the Central Savannah River area near Augusta, Georgia which was the epicenter of Ice Storm Pax.

joy and peace my friends
I have missed you


  1. We had to drive across town yesterday and were shocked at the Aiken skyline now. Huge gaps where tall pines and magnificent oaks stood. South Boundary with its arch of oaks will bring you to tears. I look out my front window and only see sky. I know we will recover and the trees will grown thick again, but It is still overwhelming what was lost. I know what you can do with a yard so I know you will have that garden back into shape.

  2. I'm sorry for all the devastation that the ice storm caused and the loss of all your trees.So much work for clean up. Nice of your neighbor to come with the chain saw to help. This too shall pass as will our long winter in Minnesota. Your garden will be beautiful again even if different.
    Hugs, Barb

  3. So sorry to hear about all the storms are the worst...I'd rather have a snowstorm any day. Sounds like you have had a lot of cleanup and work. I think you are will have a new sunny garden this year...xo

  4. I guess you have no choice but to look at the glass as half full. Of ice. Seriously though, I know your garden will be just as fantastic whether shady or sunny. And you'll have great stories to tell the grandkids some day. Please take it slow with the tree cleanup. We don't need anyone getting hurt now.

  5. OH, Olive! I'm so sorry you had to go through this storm. I can't iimagine how you stayed warm without power for 5 days! Sorry about your pretty trees too. You have a great attitude through all of this and I'm saying a prayer for you now!
    Shelia ;)

  6. So saddened over all you lost dear Olive... and for the tragic deaths... I do hope it is all over with now. Missed you and your posts... sending much love and lots of prayers... xoxo Julie Marie

  7. Ice storms are the worst. We had one years ago that was devastating. And of all times....Dec. 23. No power for a week and temps in the 20's. We had to go to a hotel. Whenever we loose power it is out for a week. The last time around the 4th of July and it was so darn hot. So I know how miserable it can be and how sad to loose so many trees. We have had so much snow and many cold days......thank goodness no really bad ice storms yet. (((((HUGS))))

  8. Olive, was so happy when I saw your name come up on my blog roll. I had not idea the reason for your absence, was missing you, dear friend. I'm just so sad to hear about the storms and all the damage it caused you. Take care and I'll be praying for you and hope you get some ordinary time back in to your lives.

  9. I had no idea that you suffered so badly during that ice storm! I'm so sorry to hear that. Glad to hear that you had nice neighbors to help you out though. I can't believe you were without power for almost a week. How did you stay warm? That would've been my biggest concern. I hope you had a wood burning fireplace, but still that would be hard to keep it going 24/7.

  10. So sorry that has all happened. Glad you are safe. This winter has been so hard on so many people. Take care.

    Prayers with you all.


  11. I can't imagine an ice storm that bad where it causes such havoc. I am so sorry you've lost beautiful trees. Your neighbor, Gary is a wonderful person.

  12. Olive...I had no idea. I am so sorry and I know you must be devastated by the loss of all of your long time trees. It's also very sad to have it wiped out in a matter of minutes.

    I wish you all the best and pray that you will be able to re-plant and move on.

    Sending a big and hopefully positive hug! :)


  13. Oh my Olive, I am so sorry you have had this storm devastate your beautiful place in the world. And such a loss of so many of your beautiful trees. Sad for loss of life, for families having to find new ways of life and living.

    The kindness that happens in the midst of loss, tragedy certainly brings a zest of the human spirit . . . just the wave of a hand was all that was asked. A very nice man indeed.

    I wish I could be near to offer some help with limbs and cleaning up . . .

    I hope you and Joe get some rest in the midst . . .

  14. I am sorry you went through all that. This looks all too familiar to me. We know the power of ice storms very well and know personally of what that storm and aftermath, including loss of power, were like for you. How ironic the storm was named Pax. Peace.
    We still have several weeks of Winter weather to watch for. This past week we had springlike weather and with that came the wind, as always happens following Winter. We were lucky, no damage. Our neighbors around the subdivision were having roofs repaired today.
    Garden planning is one thing that helps us through Winter. Your restoration plans sound lovely.

  15. Olive, I've wondered about how you were, so am happy to see your post. I'm sad to hear that you lost so many trees and that you had to live without power for so long. What an ordeal!
    You have a beautiful attitude about your garden. David Austin roses……..what a lovely thought! Thinking about you, my friend.

  16. Glad to hear your power is back on! I know how devastating these storms can be... I agree with you, "normal" is very good indeed! Take care:@)

  17. You have really had a rough time of it / so sorry about your lovely trees, the power being off for so long. What a wonderful neighbor you least there is that! :)

  18. Dear Olive - I am finding your photos of ice covered plants and trees quite amazing. For several years we visited Florida at this time of year with very hot weather, and I think that you are may be 3 - 4 hundred miles north of there. It must be unusual to have such cold weather in your area!!! Thanks goodness for the kindness of friends and neighbours.

  19. So sorry for all of the devastation, but thankful you and Joe are okay.
    Mary Alice

  20. It was a mighty storm; this winter has touched every corner of the country. So much work, so many good neighbors!

  21. My heart goes out to you, Olive. I've only been without power for a single day, so I can't imagine how hard it was to go that many days without. And losing all your beautiful trees would cause me to be in a state of despair, too, but with your gardening expertise, you'll have your yard and garden looking fabulous in a whole new way. Disasters like you've been through show you how people pull together and help their neighbors. Take care.

  22. Olive my Heart just aches for you!!! I can't even imagine having the power off for sooooo many days! AND 19 truck loads of branches!*!*! Sounds like the worst is over... Hang in there!
    Hugs - Jeanine Burkhardt

  23. I'm so sorry to hear you had all this damage! What a wonderful person your neighbor, Gary, is. It is good you are looking forward by planning out your garden.

  24. I love how you are looking at the good that comes from the original feelings of dispair - the kindness of a neighbor and the plans in transforming a garden. Happy Sunday!

  25. Good Evening Olive, I was so sad to read about the loss of life due to this dreadful ice storm. When I looked at your first photograph, I thought to myself..... how beautiful, but then as I read on I felt so very sorry for you. To be without power in such dreadful weather is awful.
    What a kind and generous spirited neighbour you have, to help you with the clear up of your road. There are many such lovely people, who are kind and generous and who do not want a thank you.... we never hear about them, unless we know about them within our own community, because they don't want the praise. So it was lovely to hear about your neighbour Gary. I will think about you waving to him when he drives past your house.
    I hope your weather clears soon. Take care.
    Best Wishes

  26. I have lived through storm devastation and been grateful for the kindness of neighbours, family and friends to in helping with the clean up. The work goes on for a very long time and is exhausting. But, I think the worst part is grieving for the lost trees and years of landscaping laid to ruin. I feel very sorry for you but very happy that you were not hurt during it all.

  27. Weather wise, this year has been like no other. Kind neighbours are everything.

  28. This is a winter we will all talk about in the years to has tested our resiliency & often, our patience. We are hip deep in snow in our Augusta, Wisconsin. But ice, that is the worst. Sending many thoughts your way.

  29. You have gone through so much, Olive. With all of the damage done, I'm glad that you are safe.


  30. Olive, Your pictures, in the midst of your despair, are beautiful, because there is beauty in the tragic. So sorry you lost so many beauties, but you are right to have the expectation of loveliness because of the extra sun that emptiness will bring. In August of 2004 our property suffered so much tree loss, as did most in our area during Hurricane Charley. I wish I had had your foresight then because what happened was wonderful. My backyard flourished and was the most beautiful place I had every lived. I miss it a lot. But I miss more the kindness of neighbors, such as yours, who lent a hand and a shoulder during tough times. We were a team. So glad you are okay and that sunny days will eventually bring you many surprises in your 'new' spaces. Ann

  31. Olive I am so sorry to hear about all the damage that was done during that ice storm but I am happy to hear what wonderful neighbors you have!! Glad your all safe!

  32. It has been a wicked winter hasn't it? I know how upsetting it is to see all that devastation.
    Spring will be very welcome here, but we have a few more storms on the way.
    I wonder what damage there is under all the snow and ice here, we can't tell yet. The deer have eaten so much of the greenery above the snow.
    I hope things improve there, and I hope you can restore the beauty that was destroyed.

  33. I am late commenting on your post. Hopefully the ice has gone now, and you are left only with your photographs, some of which are really beautiful and unusual.


I adore your comments. They are like finding unexpected chocolates. olive