Monday 14 April 2014

Back to Green

I'd heard about the ice storm that struck eastern parts of Canada and the US last December, but hadn't realised just how devastating it had been until I arrived in Ontario. Where we were staying - in a well-wooded part of the Niagara Escarpment, in a small town, not far from Milton (which of us is?) - the aftermath (almost literal: after the mowing) was shockingly apparent. The woods looked as if they had suffered an artillery bombardment, with shattered, decapitated and fallen trees and broken branches hanging on at crazy angles or scattered on the ground amid masses of woody detritus. All this devastation was wrought by the weight of the ice that formed on these weather-blasted trees - and it had been impossible to clear up until halfway through the week I arrived, because the ground was still frozen. (I'll resist, not without difficulty, any sardonic mentions of 'global warming' at this point.)
 In the course of my short stay, the thaw set in, the ice melting on the lakes and ponds and the snow retreating to reveal a withered terrain of pale buffs and greys with scarcely a green shoot in sight, and the trees still without a leaf. By contrast England never looked more intensely green and abundantly flowery than when I returned yesterday to a glorious April morning, with the Queen Anne's lace in flower, along with apple blossom and early lilac and wisteria, and the horse chestnut trees already candled and in full leaf. What's more, I saw my first Holly Blues of the year, and a single Orange Tip. Some consolation for the sharp pain of parting from loved ones after a wonderful, but too brief, week.

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