Ice Splendor


Martin and his faithful companion

One of the compelling things about living in the north, or at least in my north, is the way things can go from dismal to amazing overnight.  And they frequently do.  Just when I start to think, “Oh, this is ridiculous, why am I doing this?”, events will take a 180 degree turn and something, or someone, amazing comes along and makes it all worthwhile, indeed rewarding.  This happened over the last few days as the ice froze on the lake.  We went from living in houseboat misery to having a sublimely beautiful experience out on the ice.


That’s me, trying not to accidentally skate over the dog and cut off the tip of his tail – oh wait, that was another dog…

Just 2 days after the ice formed at our place, it was several inches thick – solid enough to be safe.  Suddenly, as is typical around here, everyone was out and about, seizing the short opportunity to enjoy the marvel of a huge expanse of flat and bare lake ice.   Apparently its not often that it freezes flat, and remains snow free.  We saw folks walking with boats, (a commonly employed safety procedure for thin ice), riding bikes, and people walking, skating, and enjoying spontaneous hockey games.  The dogs were having fun too.


P1090821Tony, the Snow King, (see my blog post about his ice castle here) and his crew sprung into action, cutting chunks of clear ice from the lake to make windows for the castle, and ice sculptures for the sculpture garden.  Amazingly, the ice was 6 inches thick and they could very safely stand at the edge of the hole they created.  (For safety sake they also put up a sign alerting folks to the hole, although I’m sure it freezes solid each night).

Tony begins to build ice castle #19

Tony begins to build ice castle #19

Turn right here

Turn right here


beginnings of sculpture garden

P1090830It’s a strange experience to skate over clear green ice.  It’s so clear you can see the bottom of the lake, and the fish underneath the ice.   It feels unnatural to walk on the surface of the water, but in a good, superhero with superpowers kind of way.  There are many cracks in the ice from the ice expanding, and also from all the flexing stress it was under during the big winds a few days earlier.   There are also areas where the ice was completely broken and then refrozen, such as the path created by the fishing boat going out.  Here it looks like open water, but closer inspection reveals that the small chunks of ice are solidly frozen into ice of a different color.  You can walk or skate over this area too, although it takes a bit of courage on my part to do so.  Its just so unnatural!


This is frozen and solid, believe it or not. The fishing boat created this path.


A study in curves, and cracks

Ice crack with overflow.

Ice crack with overflow.


Tire with ice tutu

Tire with ice tutu

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in North of 60, photos, The Song I Live By and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ice Splendor

  1. shoreacres says:

    Sometimes you post things that I just sit and stare at with my mouth open. This pretty much evoked that response. For ice to freeze that quickly, that smoothly – good grief. But what a treat to have smooth, clean ice!

    A fellow who lives in Hamburg, Germany, got to skate the Dutch canals one year. It took months for him to come down from the experience. I loved ice skating as a kid. The last time I skated was in Houston, in 1983. We had a terrible freeze – days in the 20s – and of course nothing is insulated here. The pipes at my apartment complex broke and flooded the concrete courtyard. The ice was about four inches thick before it was all over. You’d be amazed how many people in Houston have old ice skates back in their closet. 😉

    • Tandi says:

      Linda, I love the image of you skating on the courtyard. How wonderful! Do you know the character Flavia De Luce, from the book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie? She is one of my favorite characters in all of literature – an 11 year old chemisty wizard who dreams of poisoning her sisters. She is also an ace detective and quite a character. The newest book of the series starts with her skating in the ball room of her ancient family home, which she floods with ice during a cold snap. Sort of an upscale version of your courtyard. 🙂

  2. Joan says:

    Hi Tandi. My name is Joan, your mom’s friend. Are you receiving?

  3. I learned to skate in Connecticut, where my family and others who lived on the lake came out at night and built bonfires on the lakeshore and we all grilled hot dogs and skated till late at night. The last time I donned skates was in San Francisco a few years ago where they put a man-made ice rink at Christmas time to make us all feel old Fashioned “Christmassy”!

    • Tandi says:

      I too used to skate on an outdoor pond, (which is how I accidentally skated over the tip of my dogs tail and cut it off. She didn’t really seem bothered by it but I was horrified. The vet thought it was hilarious. My friend did too until the dog threw up in her dad’s car!). I used to skate at night with only a flashlight set on the shore for light. Its one of my favorite memories from that time of my life. I think it was the beautiful solitude that attracted me, as well as the feeling of flying that skating can bring with it. I hope you get to skate on your lake again some day!

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