Sunday, December 11, 2011

snow calligraphy and a plume on the lake

I saw this snow calligraphy on the ice this morning. What message might the hand of the wind on the canvas of snow-on-ice etch?

I woke up a bit groggy and a bit later than usual, but I knew that Tassu would be waiting for me and the lamb bones, so I popped my cosy stockinged feet out of bed and booted it down to pick her up. As usual for Sunday a.m., we walked along the shore of Lake Superior. In years gone by, there would have been a solid ice cover at the shore in December, but winter is no longer as cold and as hard as it used to be. Today, the December ice and water seem to be in a shifting relationship of give-and-take. Even they don't seem to know what to make of it; what is expected of them. What is water one day will be ice the next, what is ice one day may transform into a low rolling wall of vapour, but even on the coldest days, you will see eyeholes or cracks of water and hear the susurration of water as it breathes and laps against the edge of ice.
If you stand quietly by the lake shore early in the morning, you will hear the whispers and groans of ice and water as they find space for each other in the same place. Sure, sometimes you hear a loud snap, but when you turn to look, you see harmony.
The ice is thin; last week much of the shoreline was still water. Last time I walked along the lake, I stopped to watch a big circle of clear ice float and feel its way along the shore, as if it were travelling to a place to call home. Two smaller ice circles bobbed behind it like ducklings paddling behind their mother. I saw a few ducks last week, but now all I saw was this ice bird looking out from the snow dusted ice. 
I stood looking at this clear sweep of ice ribboning its way out into the lake for quite awhile. Did someone pull a toboggan way out on the lake? Would someone be so foolish to go out on the ice now when it's so thin, unpredictable, and mortally dangerous? I noticed a thin line running along center of this plume, as if it were a tire tread. Did someone ride a bike way out on the lake ice? Impossible, I thought. The ice wouldn't hold them; they would have broken through and fallen into the lake.
The plume left its own question mark. So, I'm not sure, but I surmise that this is a natural pattern made by shifting plates of ice.

No comments: