An Artist’s Notes: Country Street

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The Great Ice Storm of 1998 was called “the most devastating and least ferocious of Canadian disasters”.

Eileen Hennemann

I’m inclined to agree with that. It was a slow, painful  destruction of beauty we took for granted. Only now, after 19 years, is our Country Street returning to its tree-tunnel splendor.

I walked up this street going home on the first day of the ice storm in 1998. It was dark. Somehow I escaped the tree branches crashing down around me. By the time the ice storm finished, our street was littered in fallen branches, and the tree-tunnel we once had was now open to the sky.

The tunnel is almost completely back, and the sunlight filters through the leaves once again making everything glow from its touch. This porch was bright and beaming on my way home from an early morning walk. Further ahead the wakening sky waited for its blue to fill up into its lovely summer azure.

But will the tunnel continue to grow? I worry about the wind. It seems to be blowing more fiercely these past few years. Or is it that I’m worried my tunnel will disappear again, and I’ll have to wait another 19 years. The trees on Country Street are old. Several have met their demise to chain saws because of wind damage, age and disease.

Our trees are so very majestic when they’re with us. Take a stroll along pretty Country Street. It’s one of the many pretty streets in Almonte. It’s peaceful walking on a winter night when windows are lit in orange and flickering TV light, and the bare trees let you see so much more of what’s previously been hidden by foliage. In the spring and summer you can’t go wrong gridding the town any which way for your walk, and are often protected and shaded from a hot sun above. And the fall – well – the trees are truly in their glory then. And after their spectacle their leaves cover the lawns and roads, and neighbours wait for the wind to blow them away to compost on someone else’s lawn who likely just finished raking.

For now I’ll keep walking my Country Street and continue to be awed by the trees there. I feel comforted by them as I walk by, and am grateful they’re there for as long as their life allows.