Winter’s Silver Lining

At this point of winter, we Northerners look for silver linings.

Many are the reasons to pity the poor Southerners, but one presented its silver self this morning.

Freezing fog and the delicate, sparkling rime it leaves behind.

I’m no meteorologist and I would have to look up the specific conditions that give us freezing fog, but Northerners know it is distinct from garden-variety frost.

In its wake, freezing fog leaves the most delicate fuzz of crystals on the entire outdoors. Every tree and twig and dried weed and fence post is enrobed so they all appear a bit softened, muted, as if behind a scrim.

(If you click on the photos, you can count the little spikes of ice!)

The temperature rises a degree or two, the sun comes out, and it’s gone. Winter is cold and a little bleak and hard-edged again. 

But we had our silver lining for a moment . . . and that counts for a lot during winter.

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Steamy Weather

Yesterday morning, the outdoor temperature here was minus-25 Fahrenheit. For those of you of a Celsius persuasion, that’s almost minus-32.

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Pictorial evidence

 

That’s the cold of insta-frostbite. That’s the cold of “keep your pets in, no matter how much they agitate to go out.”

That’s the cold of “three cat nights” in bed, hot chocolate with boozy eggnog added in, and letting the mail pile up in the box because how important could it be anyway?

And it’s the cold of one of my favorite weather phenomena.

Our Lake Champlain water temperature is 36 degrees right now (about 2 Celsius). The bays are frozen solid enough for ice fishers to be out in their tents.

But steam is rising off the broad lake. Big billows of steam . . .

 

The Wind She Blow . . .

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The wind she blow on Lak’ Champlain

By’m’by she blow some more.

You’ll never drown on Lak’ Champlain . . .

So long as you stay on shore.

–(to be spoken with a laconic and wry French-Canadian accent)

It’s inevitable.

Whenever the wind blows strong at our house on Lake Champlain, someone recites this old folk rhyme.

Take yesterday, for instance. Most of the rest of the United States was basking in spring warmth, enjoying outdoor activities, and doing garden chores.

On Lake Champlain, we were watching, in awe, as the waves crashed on the seawall and ice built up on . . . everything.

At least it wasn’t snow . . .

Just Another Blogger . . .

IMG_0008_2Just another set of photos, from just another winter-weary blogger.

It’s the Rime of the Season

Say what you will about winter, about the cold and inconvenience and the lack of daylight hours. I still think winter provides more chances for dramatic and remarkable beauty than any other season.

We know what the loveliness of the other seasons look like but only winter can provide the unusual spectacle of a swirling, freezing steam off a lake that is warm only when compared with the temperature of the air.

IMG_1801And then, after a really cold night and a freezing fog, the world is covered in rime.

IMG_3151Every detail, encased and outlined in ice crystals. (Click any photo for the full detail!)

It’s all subtle and monochromatic and understated and stunning.

It’s winter–what will today bring?