Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freeze Up!

The pond is now frozen. Whether it stays that way depends strictly on the weather.

As we walked about the path today, it was 41 degrees and the breeze, slight as it was, came from the southwest. But two nights this past week had lows of 10 and 12 and it doesn't take many of those for a small pond to respond. What first was a thin layer of ice - so delicate it looked like it might be disrupted by a breath - has deepened and strengthened until we have today a substantial layer. The early ice has a particular gleam to it, a clean shine that it will lose when the first snow falls on its surface. Twigs and pine needles will tarnish the reflection, too. But right now it is a delicate blue, able to pick up the distant trees and still give a muted reflection.

Along the southern end of the pond, the cattails are blasted by the early cold and stand stark and dry. The insects are all gone, the frogs no longer call and today even the birds were silent. Even so, there is a certain warmth to this scene when the sun is low and late-day orange.
In another month, the ice itself will disappear beneath the snow and only the faint outline of the pond will remain. It might as well then be an open field. I wonder what the fish think, this gradual chilling and clouding of their world? Where has the sun gone for so long? When will a beam again pierce the darkness?