Monday, December 22, 2008

The Power of Ice

by Julia Buckley
These photos were sent to me in an e-mail; they were taken in a town called Versoix, Switzerland, and the title of the missive was "You think you're cold?"

The images got me thinking of setting and its power to evoke mood, both in life and literature. This is not just ice, it's a city turned to ice, frozen motion, and there's something both terrifying and beautiful about it, almost as though we have to be reminded of Nature's power in different ways, sometimes, in order for us to see that it is universal.

And naturally, because everything reminds me of poetry, either that someone has written or that I would like to write, I thought of Robert Frost's famous poem, "Fire and Ice."

Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is just as great,
And would suffice.
I also wonder about the people of Versoix. Is this a regular occurrence for them, something they take in stride each winter? Or were even they surprised by the intensity of this ice, the seeming permanence of it, as though Poseidon had cast a frozen curse upon the land?
In any case, the e-mail served its purpose; sure, it's snowing again here in Chicagoland, and it registered -6 on the bank clock this morning; but I can't imagine if it were this way all winter. I'll crunch along through my Christmas shopping tomorrow, and when I do I'll think of the ice in Versoix.


Lonnie Cruse said...

Well, we're six hours south of you and we don't know what to expect. The local weatherman assures us thr moisture will melt or vaporize before it hits the ground tomorrow. He promised. Meanwhile, the snow plow team is running up and down the highway both here and across the river in Paducah, dumping the de-icing stuff on the road. Hmmm. I'll get back to you on this.

Wow, that frozen car was scary. What if you were in it? The door certainly wouldn't open.

Julia Buckley said...

It all looks surreal, but that's why there's beauty in it--at least for me.

But today I had to walk a couple blocks in this frigid weather, and I realized A)the value of good hats and gloves and B)how quickly the body can become cold.

Sandra Parshall said...

Nothing scares me like an ice storm does. But what rich opportunities it offers for fiction! A movie called The Ice Storm (a decade or more back) detailed the quiet havoc taking place in a suburb during an ice storm, but a thriller or murder mystery in such a setting would be so much more fun.

We're cold all the way down here in the DC area, Julia & Lonnie, but fortunately we have neither ice nor snow to contend with. Yet.

Julia Buckley said...

This year I'm guessing that you'll get it. This has been some unpredicatable weather, and lo and behold, we have another winter storm warning for tonight. I think many people are putting off their Christmas shopping because it's just too cold.

But when I look at those photos, I can't help but find them lovely.