Growing up in Pennsylvania, I saw rain or snow, or very rarely sleet, but not–that I can recall–ice storms. A little bit of ice will bring a city to a halt as half a foot of snow will not. There is no four-wheel-driving around an ice storm, no chaining up to go the store.
You stay home, count your candles, make sure the porch is full of dry firewood, and hope your e-reader is charged. When I first got to Maryland, the whole ice storm thing was fascinating, and the best part was the landscape the next morning. The sun rose on crystalline trees, sparkling bushes, and diamond-bright everything. Fairy tales and magic right outside the door.
But now I own a little patch of ground, and on that patch are big trees, and among those trees are conifers. Ice storms are brutal to pine trees, hacking off big limbs and piling them all over the roads, roofs, and yards. My pine trees took a beating this week, and because it was a windy ice storm, those big limbs ended across the road in my neighbor’s yard. Insert bad words and lot of them here.
I figured I’d get myself a cup of tea, wait for the horrendous drippy melting to stop, and then set about lugging the rubbishing dead fall up behind the barn. Not my fave thing to do with what little energy I have. Into the house I went, to make my second cup, and to feel overwhelmed, again.
I was doing my hand weights while waiting for the microwave to heat my tea water when, what to my wondering ears should appear, but the sound of a buzz saw. A county road crew truck went by, then another, then I heard a chipper. I took my cup of tea to the window and peered across the road.
The downed limbs were gone, only a few stray boughs lying on the wet grass to prove I hadn’t been imagining things. The improvement in my mood was ridiculous. I am not alone! I don’t have to solve every problem myself! My two spoons of energy were not frittered away dragging sticky old pine limbs out of my neighbor’s yard. Hallelujah!
I was so impressed by the impact that ten minutes of road crew help had on my whole outlook that I decided I would be somebody else’s road crew. I happened to spot one of those, “We hate to ask but three curve balls in a row and we just need a little help,” fundraisers on social, one shared by another author (so credibility, of course). I pitched in, and mentally thanked the road crew all over again. I might even have to write a letter to the editor about how grateful I still am to have heard those buzz saws.
The world is a scary place right now–again, some more, still. Are there simple acts of kindness you routinely perform to help keep your emotional balance? Have kindnesses been shown to you in recent days? My contribution to improving your week is to make the novella The Duke and the April Flowers, (formerly available in the anthology Dukes by the Dozen), a free download on the web store. Enjoy!