Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. In many cases winter represents an end to something: like an end to fall, an end to warm weather, an end to the year, an end to a life cycle. It can be a bit depressing, really. Consequently, I’m not a fan of winter or the cold, but when you travel back to Minnesota for the holidays, that is what you will get. This year I decided, however, to appreciate winter, in particular, the beauty and the mystery of a frozen lake.
A frozen lake is just another phase of a life cycle. Actually, you see quite a bit of life, albeit some of it cryogenically preserved. Sensory details keep it interesting as well whether it is the crunch of snow, the cold on your face or the bright glare of the sun reflecting off the ice.
A somewhat unsettling, but cool, sound occurs when the ice contracts and expands, making noises like a whale or a thick wire reverberating. My favorite description is from my son Eddie, who noticed the ice sounded a stormtrooper firing his blaster in “Star Wars.” So really it’s like whales playing laser tag. Fortunately, this is normal activity for a frozen lake and while there are cracks that happen way down in the layers of ice, water seeps in and refills the cracks.
An abandoned snow glider waits for a rider.
These fishermen are going hard core; they are in for a long haul.
An ice house leans to the side.
A father practices hockey drills and gets his kids out for a ride.
I’m feeling more at ease on the lake (it’s always been somewhat of a fear of mine to fall through ice). Here I am with Kasey and Eddie.
My sister Suzanne and all our kids: Hayden, Claire, Eddie and Kasey.
My brother-in-law Jason and my niece Claire make first tracks. I love the way the snow looks like sand in this photo.
The beautiful sight of the various layers of ice.
This crack was already in the ice, but it can be a bit nerve-wracking to see anyway.
My son Eddie scrapes some snow away and looks through the ice, checking out what is underneath. Having taught American literature for ten years, I can’t help but be reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s beautiful lines from Walden:
Standing on the snow-covered plain, as if in a pasture amid the hills, I cut my way first through a foot of snow, and then a foot of ice, and open a window under my feet, where, kneeling to drink, I look down into the quiet parlor of the fishes, pervaded by a softened light as through a window of ground glass, with its bright sanded floor the same as in summer; there a perennial waveless serenity reigns as in the amber twilight sky, corresponding to the cool and even temperament of the inhabitants. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Eddie and my husband Kurt follow some tracks.