The Dallas Ice Storm, and What Else Might Befall Us


IT’S STILL DARK THIS MORNING, hours ’til I’ll be able to see if the large tree laying a few feet outside our window did serious damage on its way down.

We heard it fall around 4:30 and, not hitting the house, with only a rustling of leaves that belied its true weight.

Dallas is clad in a Magic Shell of ice and will be for another day or two. That’s what brought down the big oak. Checking the news I see that an hour before my tree fell, firefighters hosed out flames shooting from a sidewalk grate on Main Street downtown. What other mishaps will be apparent once it’s daylight?

So I’m aware of dichotomies: I sit cozy at my laptop, plugged in but not knowing how much longer the electricity will be on. Intermittent sounds coming from outside my window remind me that, while I’m warm and dry at the moment, it’s not so hospitable out there; sleet blows against the glass, I hear sirens in the distance, and just then, the crash of another tree falling, more maliciously, somewhere in the neighborhood.

It makes me think about the nature of fear, and how for me it’s mitigated at the moment by a thin barrier of wood and glass that holds back the storm. Fear is the hole in the dike, that breach in the wall of denial between us and unseen calamity.

And one more dichotomy: I’m at the age where experience has compiled a database of everything that can go wrong; and yet here I am, still sitting in a comfy chair inside a warm room, writing to you about the drama of a little bad weather in a modern metropolis.