Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ice Returns

The ice has returned over the last few weeks.  Lurking under a pile of grass at the water’s edge of some slough or bay are some slivers of ice.  There they will hold out until the weather turns cold again.  First they will spread their cold fingers throughout the ditches, sloughs.  Next will be the bays and the leeward shores of the lakes.  Then on some cold, clear, calm night Lake Winnebago will be encased in a thin black prison that will thicken, gather snow, and then the well-insulated feet of ice fisherman and finally their Suburbans, Explorers, and F150s.  The marshes are lonely and quiet, the ice of the lakes is lonely too, but the ice grumbles and booms as the temperature changes and the wind blows.  On an angry night in late winter, the ice, weakened by the coming spring, will team up with the wind to invade the land, crushing docks, trees, sheds and everything in its path.  The ice will sit stacked up in shame at the water’s edge watching the sun overhead end its reign over lake and slough.  The ice will not be thought of again until those first frosts end summer, and in October and November, little slivers of ice hide under marsh grass and advance and retreat, advance and retreat...

Duck weeds and water meal locked in ice