There is a power in this cold that is fascinating to watch and to hear. The strong winds are one thing as they roar through, wailing and sighing around the house and causing the trees to clatter and squeak when their branches rub against each other in the wind. As the temperature drops the sounds the trees make change. There is a noticeable change in the timber of their voices.
With next to no wind, barely a breeze, a few of the trees crack loudly as if they are going to split and crash to the ground, but nothing falls. It is just the sound of lumber contorting in the cold. It might be the dead wood standing tall in the Black Locust. That is as close as I can come to pinpointing this sound emanating from high in the tree tops and generated only in the cold. It is a cold sound.
The Rhododendrons take on the most pitiful look. The leaves curl, droop and turn dark. The worst case of over night wilting you can imagine. I marvel at this survival strategy. Notoriously shallow rooted, they wilt when the ground freezes and the liquid water is no longer available to their roots. It is a good thing it warms up enough for them to unfurl their leaves, flush out and turn green between cold spells. I do not know if I would want to look at such a pitiful thing all winter. Note to self: Do not plant Rhododendron in a major winter view plane. Just pitiful.
The real force though, the one to be reckoned with is ice, that frozen water. A real phase shifter, it falls from the sky in a multitude of forms, many I have yet to see. Then it rises back from the ground in an assortment of patterns. In loose soil it rises high carrying a small load aloft. In gravel and firm ground there appears to be no change, but small stones are glued tightly in place in a cold unyielding embrace. It melts and refreezes and takes on a new form.
I have only been lightly dusted twice and I see power in this cold.