Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An Icy Walk

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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  1. Your photos are beautiful!

    I can almost hear the sound of my skate blades on that patch of ice. Yes, I have skated over "black" water and then swam in that same water in the summer.

    The scariest water I was ever in was the Suwannee River.

  2. I have skated over dark water, it's scary but kind of exhilarating. I swim a lot in deep water it doesn't seem to bother me. We used to canoe a lot in many of the lakes near us. As long as the water was fairly warm I was ok! I sure feel bad for all of you getting such nasty weather. You live in a pretty area even in the cold and snow!

  3. My daffodil in full flower sends you a happy smile. :-D I've never skated on a pond, we just don't have too many frozen ponds in Oregon in the winter, plus ice skating was never my strong suit as my ankles wobbled badly. Now swimming is another story.. I have swam in a lake that is so deep that the water is dark blue.. and not been worried much. But now that you mention it, there might be a big huge fish in it. LOL! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. My Dutch husband tells tales of learning to drive a car on a frozen lake. It makes me nervous just to imagine what could have gone terribly wrong. Always knew my in-laws were irresponsible. LOL Keep warm. I am waiting for the sun to rise so I can go for my morning walk. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  5. Your cold snap continues and it's so nice to get out for brisk walks and then come back home in the snug warmth to warm up. I'm not jealous of any other climate at all and find it perfect where I am. I love real winters and the surprise of spring and gorgeous autumn. Summer is my least favourite season, except for the lovely long evenings. I'm not so comfortable in the heat.
    I like your pine cone washed up on a snowy tide and the outline of branches against the dappled sky!

  6. Brrrrr, I do feel chilly reading your post Sue. The snow does look so pretty though......I do love some things about winter and certainly would be sad if we had no seasons.
    As for skating on a frozen lake.....we just don't get cold enough temperatures any more. My mum can remember doing that, but these days the ice would not get thick enough to make it safe.
    I would find it scary even if it was deemed safe.
    I'm fine swimming in the sea, until I think something brushes against me , then I'm out like a shot with visions of Jaws in my head ;0)
    Jacquie x

  7. We are getting those below 0 temps today. Brrrr. Your pictures are lovely and yes, being from upstate NY, where we drove cars across Lake Champlain in the middle of winter, I do know what you mean! Have a wonderful day. Stay safe and warm. Heather

  8. No. Never. Never knew what ice was until I moved to Colorado from New Mexico! :)

    I have a difficult time taking photos in the cold, too, so that I share with you. I do have mittens, and some really warm ones at that, but they make operating a camera so awkward!!!

  9. Frozen ice scares the beJesus out of me, couldn't walk on it if I had too. Stay warm, thanks for your author suggestions, I'm ordering me some.

  10. Brrrr. It looks so cold in your pictures. I am super clumsy and I never even tried ice skating. Although since I can't swim at all I think it would terrify me to walk on that ice knowing the cold water was below me. As I grow older I am becoming more reconciled to winter although I still much prefer summertime and camping. Stay warm.

  11. Brrrr. Just looking at that ice give me the shivers.
    I am just amazed at those brave buds bursting forth in all of that winter wonder.
    Keep those pinkies warm!
    xo, Ellen.

  12. I don't think you should call yourself a coward, or if you are then I am too! I am terrified of walking on frozen ice and am constantly warning the children about the dangers of doing so. And, even though I am a strong swimmer, I completely lose my nerve in deep water - to the point of beginning to hyperventilate - complete nonsense as I could swim for hours if needed.......hopefully I'll never need to in deep water! Thank you for exposing your fingers to the cold to take those photos! juliex

  13. I adore your photos. It truly is like being there. I am still in search of Spring. I just refuse to believe she is not right around the corner! I'd never, ever be brave enough to even get close to the edge of frozen lake, much less step anywhere near there....but I can imagine what lines beneath what I can't know me, there is always some crazy butt character ready to pop upon the page...or ripples of a dark lake. Blessings always.

  14. You are certainly not alone the thought fills me dread you did right to turn away but my imagination would go even further as I turned away a long icy tendril would come winding out of the lake and wrap itself around me and drag me into it's icy depths ahhh. Your photo's are beautiful but you're very brave to take photo's on such a cold day I hope your fingers have recovered :) xx

  15. This is all very nice, but I am saddened that there is no shadow shot and NO Tallulah. Okay, I probably didn't spell that right, but what can you expect from a goat? :)

  16. Well, you don't need to be jealous of me. Ours is supposed to be a moderate climate and we've been having a miserable week :-) But doesn't winter photograph well? Your photos are lovely.

  17. Nice pics! Winter has finally returned here and appears to be sticking around for a while. You're not alone. I think about what may sneak-up on me from dark depths when I'm treading in deep water, or waiting for the ski boat to bring the rope back to me.

  18. I miss Wisconsin in every season. We uses to go to a small lake near our home in Oconomowoc for my son to skate when he was little. We only lived there 9 months but it was so wonderful.

  19. In the midth of winter too. :-) Stay cool. Spring will come. Regula

  20. I'm loving that last shot.

    I've been skinny dipping in a very deep loch in midsummer ... I tried not to think about how far down the bottom was!


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