Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ice is Nice

It's a really rare treat to find a lake frozen over with crystal-clear solid ice.  Usually, the ice is milky from forming when it snows, or rough from freezing as the wind whips its surface, or else completely covered with snow as the winter wears on. Aware that this weekend is due to bring rain and above-freezing temperatures, I hurried up to Moreau Lake on Friday to try to capture the kind of beauty that can only be found when the lake freezes diamond-hard and clear as glass.

Of course, I was hoping to find the bubbles like stacked silver coins that we found last year, and I finally did, way around on the western side of the lake where a creek empties out.  Just a few, but I was glad to find them.  I have heard that they are formed when rotting underwater vegetation releases methane gas, with the bubbles captured in succeeding layers of ice as the freezing occurs.  That's a good scientific explanation, but there still remains a kind of magical quality to these silvery discs.

I find it truly hard to explain what causes these explosions of tiny bubbles like those in champagne or seltzer water.  They often freeze at an angle and in an array that seems too energetic to be captured so solidly in ice.

I loved these foamy bubbles lining the edge of a ruddy oak leaf, both leaf and bubbles embedded in solid ice.

Another little patch of foamy bubbles sitting atop a rock, the whole arrangement -- ochre-colored rock, white foam, wine-red oak leaf, and pebbles the color of carrots -- captured in ice that was solid clear down to the sand.

Another rock, more foamy bubbles, the frozen water amplifying the rosy pink of the rock.

A variety of bubbles and frost lined the shore where the ice meets the sand.

Walking completely around the lake, I was surprised to see open water as I approached the northern shore.  The snow here had melted, too, revealing the tawny colors of the wide band of sand that was soft beneath my feet.  All other shores of the lake were covered with brittle snow-covered ice that made for slippery walking.

I was sorry I'd waited until late in the day to drive up to Moreau, for the sunny morning with clear-blue skies had changed to a cloudy afternoon.  But yet, I loved the pearly light that was cast by a weakening sun through a veil of clouds.

Alas, the sun was about to leave me as I hurried to complete my walk around the lake.  But I did have to stop for just a few moments to admire the sun's golden glow across the frozen surface.


Momo said...

Thank you for the beautiful images of the crystal frozen world at Moreau-a magical fleeting time for sure. You capture the beauty so well and hunt to discover such treasures!!

The Furry Gnome said...

Those first two shots are amazing! I'd like to go looking for bubbles, but i need to find that clear frozen lake first!

Heard about Assisted Living Seattle resource said...

beautiful photos.. I imagine that i was there too...

Heard about Shoretel Tech Support said...

amazing ice formations... so beautiful