As a child, I remember playing outside after an ice storm only a few times. Maybe it's just my poor memory but it seems like ice storms are occurring more frequently in recent years. If you've never experienced an ice storm, this phenomenon usually occurs when the temperature hovers around the zero degree mark and rain, well, freezing rain, falls, encasing every surface in a layer of ice.
The landscape is transformed, especially when the sun peaks out from behind the clouds and the earth begins to sparkle with light as though a million tiny diamonds started glowing from within. It's a transfixing sight. Magical.
But it's also quite destructive and can be dangerous. The ice creates a layer of crust over the snow, on which kids can walk and slide. But if you fall through, your ankles and calves can get pretty scraped up. Trees and power lines are toppled by the weight of the ice, leaving many households without heat and electricity during the coldest months of the year. Walkways and roadways become skating rinks. Walking becomes a hilarious exercise in trying to stay upright.
The answer, I expect, is to prepare ahead of time where possible and enjoy the beauty of the storm while it lasts. Because the temperature always warms up and the ice melts. The clean up begins and normal life resumes. But for a moment we were able to experience a glittering, shining world of ice and snow.