We heard the blowing sleet hitting the house last night and the weather report said it would be a few inches by morning. Still, I was surprised to look out the morning window onto a prairie laid flat. Just yesterday, we’d strolled the paths and remarked on the beauty of the tall dry prairie grasses in shades of brown and red. This snow was wet and heavy and shoveling it off the porch steps took some strength. The temperature hovered just below freezing all day, so as it flirted with melting it just as often shifted to ice.
My greater concern was for my little grove of pine trees that were drooping at unusual angles under the weight of the ice and snow. I decided a rescue was in order. I bundled up and found a broomstick to knock the snow off the branches.
Up close, I could see the trees were at a greater risk than I’d imagined. The sleet had crusted tightly to the needles and without any promise of sunshine in the next few days, the branches were not going to be able to withstand the weight.
I got to work, whacking at the highest branches I could reach like a Jedi Master with a light saber, and working my way down as the branches lifted their bowed heads in gratitude. Soon, my fingers were aching with cold inside the soaked leather work gloves and I couldn’t see through my glasses coated with ice and snow falling slow-motion down onto my upraised face. Some small clumps of needles broke off, but I still felt good knowing that I’d probably saved a number of big branches that would take years to recover.
I have a weakness for trees. It makes my heart ache when I see them suffer, but I am fully willing to prune them mercilessly to make them grow stronger for the future. My family tends to be alarmed when I head out with pruning shears. It always works out for the better, at least so far. I think that today I made the right move and I’ll be glad I did when I see ice damage around town.