Transition time

We’re slowly lurching our way from winter to spring, yet the transition is never smooth or straight. Our expectations (and our dispositions) soar when the sun comes out and starts to thaw the ice. The temperature rises to an unseasonable 60 degrees and everyone is smiling. The next day the thermometer drops back to winter, all that was liquid refreezes, and we know deep down that the “final” transition has not arrived. There’s snow in the forecast again tomorrow. This open water will likely freeze but hopefully the ice layer will be thin and ready to thaw once again when the sun returns and the melt begins anew.

Transition time

Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin we are going through our shoulder time from fall to winter. It’s a time that varies from year to year and also varies in its length. We had snow and cold in mid-October and then an unusual warm stretch in early November, causing the lake ice to begin to freeze, then thaw, and now freeze again. It’s a lovely time to observe the transition with open water and lake ice all at the same time.

With a warm glow the late afternoon sun lit up the opposite shoreline and allowed the trees to be reflected in the open water. The ice had been pushed to the north end of the lake by the strong winds that had blown the previous day. But this for moment, stillness and light came together.

Open water and ice

Open water and ice 11812.2_Staats (1 of 1)We’ve fluctuated between winter and warmer seasons (whether fall or seemingly spring), all in the scope of one week.  After a lovely snowfall last Monday, our temperatures have risen and stayed above freezing.  All ice that had formed is losing its grip.  As if reaching its long fingers out to try to hold on, the cracks are evident.  The lines between open water and ice are quickly diminishing.  Good for the birds, and those people who favor warmer temperatures for winter; bad for those that revel in our winter snow and cold.