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Ice Crystal Cathedral

Updated on September 5, 2009

Frozen Delight


It occurs to me now that I have never seen the ice-storm put upon canvas, and have not heard that any painter has tried to do it. I wonder why that is. Is it that paint cannot counterfeit the intense blaze of a sun-flooded jewel?-Mark Twain

My husband and i were spending our first (reunion) Christmas together in Tryon, North Carolina when it happened. Upon hearing the news and warnings about the storm, we went out to 'gear up'. We bought a little stove, supplies of food, bottled water, batteries, candles, and firewood, should there be power outage. Sure enough, the uninvited would arrive, terrifying, destroying, shutting down entire metropolis. The freezing rain would cover everything with heavy, smooth glaze ice.

From our little emergency radio, came the report: "Trees and power lines, along with numerous other lightweight structures are down in many areas from Georgia northward, and highways are closed and impassable. The heaviest ice accretions are in southwestern North Carolina, where ice over 3/4 inch (20 mm) thick was reported".

The storm came and left, leaving her marks, and we thanked God we were safe. But, we had no power for three days, and we had to keep ourselves warm by the fireplace. That was cozy, but not for long. It was cold in the house as we moved about. With no running water, we had to drive to a nearby Clubhouse for our showers. We couldn't cook food because we had bought the wrong mini stove. We could not use it indoors, which was a laugh. All restaurants were closed, but we managed with the cakes, cheeses, leftovers we had. Our inconvenience would pale to the wondrous breathtaking storm aftermath we would behold.

Awed To Worship

When we thought it was safe to come out, we got into our car, curious to see the extent of the destruction the storm has done. Lo! Were we surprised! We didn't expect to be overwhelmed by nature's transformation. How could something as brutal as a storm create such incredible beauty? I thought i had entered another world. My eyes couldn't get enough of the crystal marvel, like that of a Disneyland Ice spectacle. I gawked like a child, relishing every minute of what i believed was a Godsent blessing.

The world is a showcase for beautiful churches and places of worship. Cathedrals are designed so that worshippers look towards the rising sun, symbolising the Risen Christ. Often, the architectural form of the building has the ground plan of a cross. But, how can any man made building with human limitations, compare with the design of the Architect of the universe? While standing amidst mountains and trees covered by what looked like trillions of icy, glass-like jewels, it was hard not to be overcome by a feeling of privilege. From every angle i could worship God in spirit and in truth, and with all freedom.

I felt humbled in His astounding presence and beauty. For some reason, i had this deep sense of validation, as if my Heavenly Father was expressing His love for me. Maybe because i needed it at a crucial time in my healing. Ice represents water, for cleansing and refreshing. Right there, I was getting spiritually bathed by His goodness. My whole being was joyful in gratitude. I wanted to dance, cry at the same time. I knew, with all confidence, that something new and more wonderful has been planned for me and those i loved.

Driving around in the aftermath of an ice storm, i was glad to have the new camera that my husband had just gifted me. It was my 'brush', a necessary modern tool to help me capture a very unique moment in my life. Mark Twain wished this natural wonder to be painted on canvas. He would have approved, how so many artists and photographers have wonderfully done so. I of course wished i had a better camera then.

Winter's Art


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    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Kim! Will check out your hub.

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 

      10 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Tony! Love going to Virginia as well, very very charming place.

    • tony0724 profile image


      10 years ago from san diego calif

      IV nicely done on those pics ! I used to live In Virginia and we went to NC often . Beautiful state . Thanks for the post !

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks frogyfish. Nature seems to have 2 faces, or even more. It can frighten us, or delight us. Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • frogyfish profile image


      10 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your pictures were realistic and beautiful! Just like the real thing, for that ice happens in Oklahoma and Arkansas just like that! Yuk! And yet the beauty exists also. Thank you for sharing!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Dohn: Part of my philosophy in life is finding beauty in what is ugly. I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that despite my own personal tragedies, i did not just survive many storms, i came out in a much better place. Thanks again for your generous compliment. I wish i can take credit for the beauty of my subject. I happen to be in the right place, at the right time. I know the inconvenience a storm creates, such as what you experience. I guess you can be glad you didn't get hurt!

    • dohn121 profile image


      10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I'm really impressed with all of the pictures you took of this Ice Storm, IV. I also like how you interpreted the storm as being a thing of beauty where others would mark it as a curse! Great job!

      A few years back when I was living in Plattsburgh, NY, I got stranded there where an Ice Storm hit (not sure why I put caps on that word). Suddenly, I was in a state emergency. Perishables were banned from being purchased and little general stores were the only places that were in business during the day! Mom and Pop stores were making a killing! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Bayareagreathing! I know what you mean. Living in Hawaii, as beautiful as it is, i miss the icescapes!Thanks for your kind words and visit. Btw, i love the bay area of CA.

    • bayareagreatthing profile image


      10 years ago from Bay Area California

      Beautiful photos! Living in the bay area of California, ice storms are non-existent...which I am thankful for! But to experience it from a beauty standpoint- I know we are missing out. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Peggy W: While they are indeed beautiful to behold, the storm is definitely dangerous. I'm glad none of the trees fell on the house! Thank you for the visit and share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Gorgeous photos of that ice storm. I vividly remember one we had in Houston a number of years ago (yes...very unusual for Houston!) when we heard large cracking and thudding sounds as huge branches of our pine trees in our front yard that were weighted down with ice kept snapping off and falling to the ground. Needless-to-say, the telephone pole looking trees that were left had to be removed after that unusual storm. Despite the damage, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Sally: Hahaha! An 'ice storm'vacation sounds so goooood to me! I would love to join you! Yes, Saluda is a favorite too. Spent lots of great moments there.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I share your love for that part of the country, having spent many wonderful vacations in Saluda. But I've never been there in the winter, until now through your magical telling and stunning photos. They make me want to book an "ice storm" vacation in that most beautiful part of the world. Thumbs up!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Nice to 'meet' you coffeesnob! Thanks for the visit, and your kind comment.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Island vocie

      Beautiful Photos and beautiful heart of the writer. there is truly somehting magical about the aftermath of the ice-storm

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      10 years ago from Hawaii

      Feline P: I really love the thought that much of nature's surprises were meant to delight, if not awe us. My thanks again.

      Helen C: Thanks for your kind words and visit. Btw, my sister's name is Helen.

      Bk: You are ever so generous. I love North Carolina and miss the place a lot!!! I think it will be lovely to do it on canvas. I may sit down one of these days and try it.

      Andromida: I appreciate your compliment. Winter is indeed wonderful!

      Jiberish: Hendersonville, Asheville, Blowing Rock are places we enjoyed so much. You are very blessed to live in a place i miss sorely. I cannot agree more, about God and His artistry. Who of us humans can create one snowflake? Thanks so much for your visit and share.

    • jiberish profile image


      10 years ago from florida

      Beautiful pictures. We have a small place in Hendersonville, on top of a mountain overlooking Pisgah. The scene there in the winter are like those in your pictures. I believe that God is an artist. Great Hub.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      10 years ago

      Brilliant photography.Your pictures remind me the charm of winter.Every winter is special to me.thanks for sharing.

    • BkCreative profile image


      10 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You take the best photos! I know Tryon, NC so it was nice to see what was going on there. My family is all over NC including New Bern and all of Craven County.

      I wonder too why not on canvas - maybe too white? It would be interesting to see.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 

      10 years ago from UK

      What wonderful pictures you have here. reminds me a little of Yeosemite. I went a few years back. Will be looking at your links to.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      10 years ago

      Stunning pictures IV! I'm often awed by the sheer perfection of Nature...can you imagine the genius of the entity responsible for all the wonders of the universe?


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