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Water the garden — and it rains. I write a column on the warm winter — and of course it turns cold.

In fact it was raining when the temperature plunged so low our new wireless indoor-outdoor thermometer registered 4°F on the front porch. I’ve never seen such an ice storm. Power out all over; thank goodness not here. But the linden tree in the front yard carried a coat of ice so thick it lasted through two days of sun: A tree so a-spangle it took my breath away, and I returned to gaze at it again and again.

Fairy jewels, which my camera couldn’t catch. Either the lens was looking into the sun or the ice hardly showed. Even the dead tops of the perennials took on a magical glamour: All over the garden, crystal shone and glittered. Thin stems of cranesbill hung over the edge of the front walk in long slender rods radiating from the crown like an explosion frozen in place. I never noticed that shape until the ice glazed it. The burdened branches of the white pines hung like weeping willows. The garden was a different world.

Fairy jewels, which my camera couldn’t catch. Either the lens was looking into the sun or the ice hardly showed. Even the dead tops of the perennials took on a magical glamour: All over the garden, crystal shone and glittered. Thin stems of cranesbill hung over the edge of the front walk in long slender rods radiating from the crown like an explosion frozen in place. I never noticed that shape until the ice glazed it. The burdened branches of the white pines hung like weeping willows. The garden was a different world.

The ice was gorgeous — but it made me uneasy. Walking was perilous, and huge boughs of pine smashed down all over the garden. Coming back into the warm house, I was uncomfortably aware how even our gas heat depends on electricity.

But what bothered me most was intangible. It was simply how extreme the event was: how much ice, how shockingly different from the warm weather just before. I know it’s nothing beside the disasters which have already been linked to global warming. Nothing even beside the hardships some friends of ours went through in this storm. Still it’s affecting me at a gut level.

The icy garden was gorgeous — but eerie. I think of stories of people who found their way into the beautiful land of faeries. If they were not trapped there, if they got back to the world they came from, they always found either themselves or their world changed (or both), so they were not really at home there anymore. Or of Alice in “Through the Looking Glass,” who kept running into unpleasant surprises when she was trying to act in a reasonable way — because the laws of reality had all changed.

I can’t help feeling this eldritch beauty is an omen of what’s to come.