I left the mountains of North Carolina in shorts and a t-shirt on December 29th. Exactly one year before the roads in Boone had been snow packed, but we rolled off the mountain toward Wilkesboro with the windows open, enjoying what felt like a warm spring breeze. I spent New Year’s Eve in Raleigh, lounging outside on the deck in bare feet, listening to a community that sounded as if it were celebrating Labor Day, not marking the beginning of a new year.
Just a day later, I was surprised to learn of a winter storm warning forecasted for Bremo Bluff. This seemed impossible, but the seriousness of the forecast forced me to return to the nursery or risk being stranded. By the time I hit the Food Lion in Dillwyn, VA, it was a madhouse.
When I went to sleep Sunday night, it was mild out. Sometime in the night, I was woken by ferocious winds. At daybreak, I peered out and was shocked to see a winter wonderland. The trees were already bending beneath an accumulating wet snow, and the wind was whipping them. Big flakes were falling, sweeping side to side. Within two hours, a power pole fell close to the farm and the lines went down. Luckily, at the Bremo Barn our recently installed generator roared to life.
There were two of us lucky enough to be pinned down at the nursery, as the entrance road had numerous Cedar (Juniper) and Pine blocking exit or entry. We fired the saw and harnessed the plow, then worked our way out.
By midafternoon, the sky was dark blue, and the temperature was plummeting. All over the property, Cedar Trees, some over a century old, had piles of broken branches at their base. Many lost their tops. In the nursey, the trees were invisible amongst all the snow that clung to them. Evergreens bent to the ground.
I spent the next five days at the nursery, enjoying the quiet and majestic winter scenes. The trees in the nursery held up remarkably well, especially as compared to those in the landscape. In the end, I took nearly 300 pictures. Upon every turn, I discovered a unique view worthy of documenting. Despite losing my youth a decade before, I still find magic and whimsy in the falling snow. The surprise snowstorm of January 2022 was a welcome break from the trials and tribulations of adulthood.