This is the time of year we try not to be jealous of other climates. Snowdrops are blooming in England and Scotland; the Pacific Northwest is leafing and flowering after a January "false spring". But here in Wisconsin, it's simply cold. We're having a week of below-zero nights and barely-above-zero days, with wind chills making it even colder.
The funny thing is, it doesn't feel too bad. Temps that made us squirm in December now seem quite bearable. (It must be a case of getting acclimated.) But there's one part of me that doesn't like this weather one bit - my fingers. Given a choice between holding a camera out in the wind, and staying warmly tucked inside winter clothing, my fingers would choose pockets over photography every time - which is why there are so few photos from Sunday's walk.
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The sky is mostly cloudy when I set out. There are small birds singing all over the neighbourhood - rather puzzling in this cold weather, but strangely cheering as their song brings thoughts of spring.
After I reach the park, the clouds break slightly, showing glimpses of wintry blue sky:
A pine cone looks as though it washed up on a snowy tide:
Tree branches beaded with the promise of spring:
A patch of the lake has been cleared of snow to make an ice rink (though no one is skating today):
Even though I know it's frozen solid, I still feel nervous about walking on the ice, which is full of vertical and horizontal cracks, and dark beneath its stippled surface (much darker than this photo shows):
What the camera sees from ice-level:
I lose my nerve and head back to the safe shore. There's something about the dark ice that makes me uneasy. I envision myself striking a thin patch and falling through, like Amy in Little Women - with no Laurie to drag me out. (Logic tells me this would be highly unlikely in these temperatures, but why listen to logic when unreasoning fear is so much more colourful and exciting?)
My fingers are glad when I put away the camera and pull on my gloves. A chilly mile later, I'm back in the warm house.
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Have you ever skated on a dark frozen lake, or swum in lake waters where you couldn't see the bottom? Did you wonder uneasily about what might lie below the surface? Coward that I am, I hope that a few of you will answer "yes", so I'll know I'm not alone.... :)
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