The best ice forms when it’s cold. Thus spake Quill Gordon, Chronicler of the Obvious, but we’re not just talking cold here. We’re talking real cold, where boogers freeze and snow squeaks under foot. The kind of cold where an unprotected finger feels like it’s been sliced by a razor and ears like they’ve been set afire. Cold made all the more shocking by following on the heels of a warm January thaw.
On Monday it was 50 degrees and pouring rain. Today it’s impossible to tell how cold it is — because the thermometer disappeared last night in the wind — and dry arctic air continues to assert its dominance by slamming into everything at 40 miles per hour. Except for wool trousers, which it sails right on through.
The lake level rose with the rain and melt. Now it is dropping and the shoreline is defined by a large crack.
The ice groans and thumps as it sags under its own weight, booming like a 40-acre drum. The flow from upstream has slowed but the outlet of Fish in a Barrel Pond still runs. Some of the excess will work its way downstream, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, but some of it will be solidified into place and spend the rest of the winter here with us, the Frozen Chosen.
Sticks and roots collect the splash and spray of the runoff, building up thick layers of ice in the sub-zero air.
Froth freezes, layer upon layer, smoothed and polished, unlike frost.
At certain temperatures, ice forms on just about everything …
… but the best ice forms when it’s cold.
(Coming Soon: Dr. Marcus Feely’s Very Large Trout)