Jan 26 2010

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Wind across Lake Ice

Posted at 1:50 pm under Blog Post

I was waiting in line at the grocery store earlier today, trying to figure out how Octo-mom got her bikini body, when suddenly it occurred to me that I’m not spending enough time outdoors.  My excuse is that I’m hard at work on my literary projects during the winter, but the truth is I’d rather spend my time reading and pondering the mysteries of the universe whenever I’m not working.  But grocery store tabloids don’t lead to any deep thoughts, so I dropped off my groceries at home and headed for Kill Kare State Park to stretch my legs.

My dog, Matika, was all for going to Kill Kare.  She hopped around excitedly in the back seat of the car while we drove there.   Then again, she thought going out yesterday in the freezing rain was a good idea.  No, her judgment isn’t to be trusted.

Kill Kare is a spit of public land jutting into Lake Champlain.  Dogs aren’t allowed in the park during the summer, but in the winter nobody cares.  From a large field right next to the lake, I tossed a ball for Matika to chase while I walked around taking in the scenery.

The lake was iced over as far as I could see.  Shafts of light breaking through gray clouds illuminated Adirondack foothills a dozen miles away.  A steady breeze rippled the open leads of water close to shore.  Several ice fishermen were standing over their holes a hundred yards away, dreaming of perch.  A couple days of above-freezing temps had melted off all the snow, revealing nearly transparent ice no more than six inches thick.  Wouldn’t catch me out there on a bet.

It didn’t take long for the wind blowing across the lake ice to cut through my four layers of clothing.  Didn’t look like the fishermen were catching anything, yet no one moved from their hole.  They all seemed oblivious to the wind.  I stuck around long enough to wear out my dog then headed for the car.  Snow flurries were swirling around my head by the time I reached it.

While finishing my walk, I daydreamed about the choppy, green-gray lake water of early spring and the warmer weather beyond.  Then I realized that today’s the meteorological middle of winter here in Vermont, or thereabouts.  That means we’re halfway through the cold season, so balmy days are still months away.  The lake will remain iced over a while longer still.  Ice fishermen will have ample opportunity to catch perch.  Wish I shared their enthusiasm for the sport, but I’m going indoors to ponder the imponderables instead.  Winter is, after all, a good season for pondering.

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