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.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.