013005ice2.jpgIce provides a different winter pattern than snow, one that is often more stark with clearly defined lines.

A frozen stream (above) or an ice-encrusted plant (right) showcase the ability of mother nature to dominate the environment. Snow exudes a sense of fun, a winter playground to be enjoyed. Ice, however, suggest a very real danger — a stifiling one that can snap limbs from trees, encase a living thing in a frozen tomb or — as it did with the dinosauers — destroy a civilization.

The environmentalists warn us that another ice age could come from global warming which, on the surface, seems like a paradox, but is a very real possibility when polar ice caps melt and saltwater oceans are flooded with fresher water. Our planet is a fragile machine that doesn’t run well when out-of-tune. But preventive maintenance is seldom a priority in a society that runs on economic, not environmental, priorities.

Luckily, the ice from sleet and freezing rain that fell in Southwestern Virginia Saturday and early today was far less cataclysmic. If offered more beauty than danger.

For now.

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