They Call Me Mr. Sandy Pants

After a week that consisted largely of time spent lugging sand bags as cold winter water took an unauthorized route downhill, it was nice this afternoon to sit on a rock and watch the water go where it was supposed to.

With a little telephoto action, the area below the spillway of Fish in a Barrel Pond is what you might call a picture-rich environment.

Together, billions of drops create a flow that crashes to the rocks with a steady, hissing roar. The resulting splatter is chaotic, with individual drops flung in all directions. In the warm times, this even soaking results in a luxurious, slippery coating of moss. On the eighth day of a cold snap that began back in January, it results in ice, which has a strange sort of order to it, despite the chaos from whence it forms.

Overhanging trees collect frost from billowing mist, and an even, frozen glaze coats every cold surface not kissed by the sun, which though still feeble, is doing much better since its close call with the southern horizon six weeks ago. What warmth it generates is quickly extinguished as long shadows shift and the temperature can swing dozens of degrees in a matter of minutes.

This is new ice, clean and clear, growing in place of what accumulated during winter’s first half. That ice was old, dull, and opaque, and it fell to the streambed in chunks that shrank to nothing in a warm, late January rain. This ice could last until March before it turns gray and punky and is swept away by the muddy runoff of spring.

The sound of running, splashing water can be soothing, conducive to contemplation. Sitting in the cold, pondering such things as the cycle of the seasons and the beauty of harsh conditions, I think back on the week that just was and one question keeps swirling to the front of my mind: how the heck does a guy wearing waders and a rain coat still manage to get sand inside his long johns?

Dont need no Photoshop

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Post navigation

7 thoughts on “They Call Me Mr. Sandy Pants

  1. I couldn’t tolerate such cold winters, but I’m glad you have the chance to play (photographically) with ice formations. I can’t distinguish the last photograph, which I assume shows ice, from views I’ve seen of water in a waterfall.

    Steve Schwartzman

    • Hi, Steve. The last photo is ice, taken where the water flows more than it splashes. I like it. It’s nice and abstract, and the lighting was just right. I put it up untouched by any filters or digital manipulation …

  2. That last one’s a beaut. Also: spillways and culverts are only degrees apart, to my eye.

  3. I imagine what few neighbors you have see you sitting along the spillway in this freezing wheather taking pictures of ice and whisper to each other……poor Quill, it’s that time of year again, hopefully he’ll return to normal again come May.

    Some of those look like rock candy and that last one is cool.

  4. winter order out of chaos, solids out of liquids, really nice!

  5. Buggyd

    “Don’t need no Photo Shop” indeed! That last picture is a real gem! (And the others are kinda nice too.) And as always, the narrative complements nicely. Hope you’ve managed to get all that sand out by now.

  6. Hey Quill;
    Loved the photos, and your writing was soothing to read, relaxing; made me feel like I was there to see and hear it. Thanks for your observations.

Cast A Line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: