Thoughts on unfreezing

No ice, just babies for Mrs Canada.We human mammals love water. We spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, presumedly plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it.

Those of us fortunate enough to gain housing close to a stream, lake or ocean often post signs around it announcing our success to neighbors who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.

I was lucky enough to spend my formative years on, and in, a 500-acre pond that would, in this month of those years, be covered in melting ice. Actual “ice out” usually happened about the first of May.

At April’s end, the pond, with warming sun and breeze caused by the differing temperatures of water and surrounding land, would send great islands of tinkling crystals crashing against the shore. My brother and I would grab big sticks when an island was blown close to our shore and stir the ice, still of sufficient quantity to block the start of fishing season, to help it break up, melt and go away. One afternoon we would go to town on errands and return to discover the ice had surreptitiously disappeared.

I fished often in those days, when I wasn’t wandering in the thousands of acres of mountain woods – all but about 50 acres of which we did not own. It was just me and the critters, some of which I brought home to dinner.

I live farther south now, and probably would expect spring to be warmer than what I experienced in my youth, but I have been here long enough to notice even the local change. One of my visual measurements is Long Pine Reservoir; the only reservoir in my home county, owned by a town in the county next door. How weird is that?

I visited the lake several times during this winter, but there was little or no ice. In truth, relative to what I have seen in recent years, there almost is no water. There is an awful space of dry land between the parking area and enough H2O to float a kayak.

I have pictures from a few years ago, running across the ice with Granddaughter and a dog. Granddaughter is older and into much younger men, and the dog has moved on to a more ethereal pond – with frozen, walkable, covering.

Several years ago, we bought a snowthrower because as much as I like snow, I don’t enjoy shoveling it. Last year, I never pulled the thing out of the shed. This year, I used less than a half tank of gas. The northwest portion of our state is experiencing drought when one might expect winter snows and the Great Lakes to have the region well-dampened.

On the other hand, trees are in bloom across the county-side. Tadpoles are growing in vernal pools, on their way to becoming frogs. A robin has laid its first egg in a nest newly formed outside our front door. In the backyard, a pair of House Sparrows have set up housekeeping; I have not checked yet whether there are eggs therein, but judging from watching the birds’ behavior, I think not yet.

There is a nest of Blue Jays I have not yet found. The rascals come to the feeder, grab a peanut or a couple of sunflower seeds, then dash back into the woods.

Elsewhere, while photographing a Red-winged Hawk on sentinel duty, I spotted what appeared to be a green-breasted Antonov nesting at the edge of a pasture – my first sighting ever.

Spring is shaping up to be a rewarding opportunity for photographing outdoors.

I hope you enjoyed the journey. Thanks for coming along. Comments are welcome. Before you go, please tap a button to share.

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