A week ago, two days before Christmas, an ice storm hit the area where I live hard. We were without power most of Sunday and again most of Monday. Others lost their power for mere hours, others for days.
However, I want to focus not on what happened to people, but to the trees in our front yard. We have four sugar maples, planted near the road, a birch, a crab apple, a poplar, a pine, and a silver maple. The sugar maples and birch came from my parents' woodlot, about an hour east of us. The crab apple was purchased at a local nursery that specializes in fruit stock that does well in our growing zone. The pine was a gift from a neighbor. The poplar we bought from a catalog when we first moved into our house, because it was guaranteed to grow quickly and we wanted shade fast. The silver maple was a gift from family in Connecticut, courtesy of the Arbor Society. It's native range is somewhat to the south of us.
They fared diversely. The sugar maples and the pine are absolutely fine. The crab apple lost the top of the center trunk, which was dead anyway. The birch, like birches all over, and like the birches in Robert Frost's poem, are bent. The poplar and the silver maple, however, did not bend. They broke. The poplar has very few full branches left. One of the silver maple's multiple trunks bent over the spot where my car is usually parked (my husband wisely decided to move it) and hovered there for a day before it cracked, split, and fell.
Throughout the past week, whenever I looked at our trees, one word came to mind: resiliency.
Our trees responded differently to a coating of ice, even though they were in the same yard and most of them were the same age. Their response depended on their kind.
There's a metaphor in that, one I don't want to belabor, but one I think we could do well to heed.