Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Tests the Water

 As I said on Friday, the weather was taking a sad turn. Those days in the 40's ... 50's even ... slid into the teens and seemed to stick there. Friday (01/13) had a high of 19°, a low of 14°; Saturday (01/14) managed a 28° high but slid to 16° overnight; and today (01/15) we topped out at 29° but fell to a frigid 7° overnight. I've always thought Farmersville seemed to lie in a deep meteorological hole, one bent on pooling cold air at night. I have both digital and analog thermometers and they agree very closely.

 The Farmersville-Jackson Twp. Pond is another indicator I use. Due to its mass, it responds slower than any thermometer in my arsenal. But it also holds its readings longer ... a sort of natural well that preserves the average, never the instantaneous.

 So, as the cold air poured in, the pond's surface drew tight. Soon it was frozen fast. I think these are some of its prettiest times.

 That hard surface, while undergoing its transition to solid, even holds the wind on its surface. Waves are frozen there. I have not seen a bluer sky - above and below - any truer than todays. It seems to have opened clear to outer space.

 The ice is very thin and wouldn't support any weight. On the western and windward side, the ice is blown clean and clear. On the east, the snow has collected and is banked against that shore. It transitions about halfway across from clear blue to powder white.

 The beginning of this transition zone can be seen by walking to the southern edge. Here there is ice; here there are snow flakes beginning to collect. Underneath it all, green algae still blooms, caught there by the warm temperatures earlier in the month (56° on 01/06). Along the edge, unseen, I imagine frogs are deep in their winter slumber, unaware of the hard world gathered above.

 This clump of pines on the eastern shore is always my favorite. Today their reflection shows only on the blue ice. Winter has come to the pond finally.

 I am nearly alone here today. A man walks two dogs who find today's upper 20's pleasantly warm. In the days ahead we'll have the pond washed clean by rain again and the process can begin anew. Winter is still making tentative steps. It is testing. It hasn't shown its harsh side yet.

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