Icing on the Lake

There was a time when I watched ice form with great interest, knowing I was stranded on an island until it was thick enough to cross (On Thin Ice). Now I watch ice form with great interest because it is so interesting to watch.

Calm, clear days give way to clear, cold nights and the stillness starts to settle in. Three weeks of progressively shorter days lie ahead — and the cold will surely deepen — but for now winter’s grip is tentative and weak.

I wouldn’t try walking across it just yet.

Most of the lake ice is around the edges, over the shallows and in sheltered coves, but rafts have formed, merging into sheets that extend further each day.

Puddles freeze faster than ponds but sometimes they drain faster than they freeze, leaving behind a faint skim best measured in nano-somethings. Pieces collapse from time to time, melting instantly in the mud below but, if you stand and watch for a while, most will simply evaporate, disappearing right before your very eyes.

In the woods, apples still hang. The lower branches of these trees were pruned out years ago and now all the fruit is thirty feet up. Their next pruning might just consist of one single cut, and I’ll graft their nice fruity branches right onto their freshly cut stumps.

They are nice to look at, though, and the wildlife appreciates their bounty this year. Deer move in for meal of fallen fruit around dusk, and the bear has been through, but the coyotes are on a real hard cider bender. Every night for the last week they’ve been back there, eating fermented fruit,  whooping it up and howling at the moon. When they’ve had their fill of that, they race up and down the draw a few times, screeching and yapping all the way. Eventually they will stagger home, across the dooryard and down the road, leaving behind a trail of large, apple scented turds.

Watching ice form may not strike some as exciting, especially because of what it represents, but I find it is at least as interesting as watching paint dry.

That stuff is done.

Fish in a Barrel Pond, November 29, 2011

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Icing on the Lake

  1. Nice observations Quill. Out midwest way, the bird bath froze up the other day. Only thing around with water in it that did. Found myself staring at it for no apparent reason. Just seemed so out of place so early.

  2. Beautiful photos, as always, Quill. The juxtaposition of the apples and ice…nature is fascinating. I have over two feet of snow at my house this morning…and it’s still coming down. I can’t see any ice, except the stuff hanging from my gutters. But one of my favorite things is that ice on puddles that have drained. The lacing…so cool.

  3. I also saw a bird bath frozen this morning. The poor little guy with his feet frozen in place didn’t move fast enough I guess. Good job Quill!

  4. Woolybugah

    Beauty can be found in all of nature’s seasons and you seem to have the ability to capture it well.
    The actions of the coyotes reminds me of some similar scenes that have taken place in warmer times by 2 legged coyotes that have partaken of fermented beverages.

  5. Nancy Spivey

    I knew you were an artist!

  6. Buggyd

    Quill, your comments about the coyotes and fermented apples remind me of the days when our horses used to cross through the stone wall to our neighbor’s apple orchard and clean up the fallen apples under his trees. They would end up staggering around for a while under the trees before they eventually wandered a zigzag pattern back over to our barn.
    I too love the patterns of ice that dried up puddles make and can’t resist snapping a picture or two. The other cool thing about lake/pond ice I love is the cracking and groaning it makes as it expands & contracts. Thanks for your reflections and pictures.
    Ms. Buggy D

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