Saturday, December 6, 2008

WINTER COMES TO CANADA’S DEEP SOUTH


For one day, we had a most welcome respite from those rip-the-hat-right-off-your-head blasts of wind, and now it’s back to blowing again. The lake effect snow and the recent Alberta Clipper have so far both missed us, so we are still a green/brown mix, but the temperatures have been at their coldest yet (-4C/25F) this season. That’s enough for the lake to be in the earliest stages of freezing. From time to time, little pats of slushy ice go by, torn away from some semi-protected part of the shore and pushed roughly along by the waves. The water itself had a dull sheen to it. If the cold keeps up, and dips even a degree or two lower, the frothy waves will quickly turn to a kind of “slurpee” texture, then it will form a rolling gray matt, stretching back further each day and night until the white spray from the free waves on the open water is barely visible, even with binoculars.

By then, wind will determine the shape of what I will look at all the rest of winter. If it’s still blowing, the newly formed ice won’t yet be thick enough to withstand the force, and the surface will buckle and pile up as the wind presses it towards shore. Chunks and floes will rise up and topple over from the action. Fluctuations in the wind and temperatures will determine how much of a ridge of ice forms. Last year, in places it rose above my view of the lake horizon, and I had my very own mini-mountains. Once the freezing is complete, animals will move out – I’ve seen coyotes and a red fox – taking advantage of the new territory to explore. Then in the new year, if the serious cold continues, I’ll see tiny specks way out on the ice (fishing huts) and even tinier specks (people). Then one day, months from now, I’ll notice liquid water lying on top of the ice, shining like mercury under the glare of the late winter sun. Then the shallow ice near shore will stark to creak and pop.

5 comments:

Sylvia K said...

I'm glad my room is warm! Your always vivid description along with the great photo, sent chills up and down my spine! I raised my family in Montana so I know about cold, but not the about the look of the lake although we did see some of it on the Missouri River from time to time. Stay warm!

bobbie said...

I love to watch ice form and then buckle and do all the things you describe. We see it in the bay.

But I've never thought of any part of Canada as "the deep south". I guess that's normal enough, since we're further south. and I sure never thought of "deep south" as being so cold!

Lin said...

wow, we have 50 degrees and still autumn leaves on the trees. sounds too cold but beautiful where you live.

Rose said...

I think I am going to enjoy your posts through the seasons a lot...I would love to see a short video of the wind on the water, etc...

About the Meme, I will watch for it, but it may take me a day or two to do it. Kind of wondering what it will be.

magiceye said...

love the image posted.... beautiful!