Don’t Trust the Ice

I’ve been watching my local creek respond to a prolonged spell of bitter cold. Like a living, growing scab, solid ice has covered the surface. It’s both beautiful and evil. Continuously forming, fascinating patterns appeared. It tempts me to trust; “Take a step.” In most places the ice was inches thick.

But elsewhere were pockets of deception. Having started this formation week’s ago, when the water level was higher, there are places where a half-inch thick crust now hangs above a four-inch-thick pocket of air. Separated from the still-flowing water underneath, growth stopped. And so the angel of sound warned with a hollow crack.

I marveled. I slid. I listened. But I will never trust.

Fascinating patterns in thick ice. Strong enough to hold my weight, the pressure crack seen here was NOT a result of my footsteps.
The silhouette of the butt of a rock, broken through with ease, just a few feet away.
The result of a few more whacks. Notice the cutoff footprints. The water here is just a few inches high, so the risk was (only) wet feet in 18-degree weather. Still, the message is clear: don’t trust the ice.

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