We’d finished our “work” for the day and it was mid-afternoon on an unseasonably balmy day for the North with a temperature of 34 degrees. We loaded up the sled with our ice fishing equipment and headed out across the lake. Leaving a trail behind us, we settled near the middle of the lake, set up our portable fish house and settled in for some comfortable fishing. With protection from the wind, we fished for a couple of hours coming back with crappies, sunfish, and one Northern pike. We packed up after dusk and were beckoned back to the cabin with its warm lights. It was a delightful end to a mid-winter’s day.
The cold has settled in and the lakes are freezing. Throughout the day I watched the clouds and the snow move in. The wind would pick up and blow the snow down the lake, forming whirlwinds of white skimming the ice. As quickly as the snow came in, then the sun would come out. The ice would creak and moan as the heat from the sun combatted the cold of the ice. There were sub-sonic groans that pierced the air. And then the cycle would repeat – snow then sun then snow. But before sunset the skies cleared and there was a beautiful and quiet full moonrise. It lifted over the opposite shore and trees and eventually directed its light on the snow-covered and ice-cracked lake, littered with leaves now encased in the ice.
Winter has arrived this week, and with it so many changes. For the past six days, our temperatures have stayed below freezing. We’ve had some blowing snow, although not enough to cover the grass. But the cold weather is now allowing Mother Nature to ice over our lakes and ponds. Many of the Canada geese are flying high in the sky, heading south to warmer climes. Whereas before we heard their calls in the early morning and before sunset, now they are continuous throughout the day as they journey away in large flocks before the winter becomes harder and colder. What waterfowl remain, find it slippery going on the once-liquid lakes. Soon the transition to winter will be complete and we will revel in her white and shimmering beauty.