We'll start at the beginning. Christmas Eve Day was a California day. I was driving around doing a bit of shopping and thinking again about how moving south was such a brilliant idea with weather this beautiful.
I woke up the next day and it was raining. It was a pretty rain. I was simply enjoying the day unpacking things in my new house.
Things started taking a turn when the rain started icing up on everything and a pretty thick ice at that. That's when I got concerned. About five the rain turned to snow. More concern set in.
I thought the white Christmas would be up north in Cape Fair where I'd just left. Nope, the white Christmas would be here, but it didn't feel like a happy white Christmas, the ones we think about and hope to experience. It felt like one to be concerned about. Not the same feeling at all.
The snow kept coming down and it didn't take long, I'd say about eight o'clock that the creaking and crackling started. Anyone familiar with tall pines in these conditions knows exactly what I'm talking about, but for me, it was a brand new experience. I knew immediately what the sound was though. It was the trees and branches breaking. The weight of the snow on the ice-laden branches had taken its toll.
It scared the living wits out of me. I've never been so scared in my life, to tell you the truth. Every time I heard that sound throughout the evening and night, I froze and my head turned around trying to figure out where it was coming from. I think there was one moment where I ducked on the floor.
Very early on in the crackling, there was a big flash (I thought it was lightning hitting a tree) and a huge boom. A fairly good-sized pine fell and took the power and cable lines with it. The flash was actually the tree hitting the power line. Funny enough, I still had lights and Internet, but it took the heat and TV with it.
My friend from Cape Fair was on Skype when a loud boom echoed and the house shook like crazy. I probably screamed. That was it. I was frantic. I didn't say anything, but he was determined he was coming down. He still had a few shifts at Silver Dollar City before moving here, but he was grabbing his chainsaws and a few other things and hitting the road.
My power and cable TV had been cutting in and out all day long, just for a mere second or two, but it always came back. At 11 pm after the snow had stopped falling, of all things, and it was pretty quiet outside, it gave out completely. I hadn't even realized that the furnace had kicked out sometime earlier in the evening, but it was then that I noticed the thermostat had dropped.
Now I was glad he was coming. He'd left about ten. It took him seven hours to get here when it normally takes four. His experience with Highway 65 from Branson through Harrison and all of the Arkansas Ozarks was just as much of a stressful time for him as was my experience wondering if a tree was going to fall on my head. He said there was a lone trucker on the road and an occasional rare car, but there were spots where there were no tracks at all and drifts that obscured road from no road. Anyone familiar with 65 in Arkansas knows it curves and winds like any other Ozarks road and is nothing like a typical Interstate.
I finally fell asleep blotting out the sounds of trees and branches falling and woke up to his red Dodge pulling in at 5 am. Shortly it became light and we surveyed the damage. The day was spent with a chainsaw.
I do have some very pretty pictures. I shot them that day. I just now looked at them for the first time and I was surprised by their striking beauty.
|Blue Skies the Day After (trees bent over)|
|John's Truck Through the Trees (the big pine that took the power and cable lines with it)|
|One of the Strikingly Beautiful Pictures|
|A Lone Frozen Tree|
|The Road Beyond Back to My Neighbor's Place (we removed the trees later that day so he could get out)|
|Power and Cable Lines Dangling Near the House|
|Power and Cable Lines Down|
|Power and Cable Lines On the Ground|
|The Tree That Took Them|
|Top of the Tree That Took Them|
|The Final Branch (when I'd said that I lost heat and TV when the tree fell and a couple hours later I lost lights and Internet, it turned out this was the branch [from another tree] that took my remaining services away)|
|The Cause of the House Shaking|
|The Same Branch On the Side Deck Roof (impressive in its own right and from the largest tree on the property)|
To tell you about my house and my move, it was completely random that I landed here where I did. I'd always had a thing for Hot Springs and I'd occasionally glance at property there. You know me and my constant perusals of real estate and land. I'm always following properties in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, but I honestly don't know how I happened to pull up this house on nearly 3 acres just south of Little Rock in Saline County, Arkansas.
It was love at first sight. I loved every single picture of the house inside and out. That never happens. I had to come down and see it and the pictures turned out to be true, so I bought it.
I'm in the foothills of the Ouachitas and the Ozarks are now in my backyard. My tales will be told from here. I hope you'll stay along for the ride.