Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Back Outdoors!

It's been a while. Way too long since I'd ventured outdoors this month.  First came snow too deep and fluffy for this old woman with arthritic knees and bad lungs to snowshoe through. Then came the pouring rain and melting temps that turned the snow to boot-soaking soggy mush.  Then freezing cold turned the snow crust to shin-bashing slabs.  Add to this intemperate weather a lonely Christmas, dismay for our nation, fear about Corona . . . . No wonder I've been in a funk!  But then, Sue called:  "The sun's out, Moreau Lake has frozen over, let's go look for frozen bubbles!"  So out I went.

Moreau Lake had yet to freeze completely over when we got those 30-plus inches of snow two weeks ago, so most of the lake froze clear and black when the temperature dropped to the single digits the following week. This made for great conditions for methane bubbles to be captured in the ice as it gradually froze.

This is not the best year for frozen bubbles (see my blog post for 1/4/2015 for that spectacular year), but we found enough of their crystalline beauty to make us glad we had ventured out today.

Except for the echoing croaks of ravens and this muskrat domicile, we encountered few signs of animal life today. The crusted snow in the woods yielded no tracks of otters or foxes or coyotes, either.

A blustery wind had us shivering under our winter coats, but when we reached the broad swimming beach, a late-morning sun blazed out of a clear blue sky, enticing Sue to lie back on the snow-covered sand to bathe in those warming rays.

When we reached the south-facing shore of Moreau Lake, we found that most of the snow had retreated, leaving a wide swath of sun-warmed sand and a narrow band of open water next to the shore.

We rested a while at a picnic table here, enjoying the warmth of the sun while we marveled at the sounds emanating from the frozen lake.  Such eerie ice-music! It reminded us of whale songs or the pew! pew! sounds of light sabres on a space-movie soundtrack. At one point, Sue noticed that when the ice-sounds occurred, the open water next to the shore vibrated in response. Here she is, watching the water with her camera, hoping to capture in a video both the sounds of the ice and the sights of that vibrating water.

I tried, too, with my still camera, to capture those vibrations of the open water. They came and went so quickly, this was the best I could do.   Sorry I couldn't better recreate this amazing phenomenon of dancing ripples in response to those eerie sounds.  At least I was able to experience this, and I will never forget it!


Momo said...

Looks like a lovely day to be out at Moreau. Those sounds are a pure magical gift. I have only heard them once, as I walked alone beside Pyramid Lake with the sun on the ice several years ago. It lasted for some time and, yes, sounded like whalesong!

The Furry Gnome said...

Frozen lakes do make some weird noises!

Woody Meristem said...

Listened to the moans and groans of a large pond yesterday -- for a kid they would be really spooky. I've always found it interesting to send a fist-sized stone bouncing across a frozen pond or lake.

threecollie said...

So glad to see this. I was worried when you hadn't posted. Lovely prose and photos!