Loosening its grip
Temperatures have moderated over the last few days and this has put an end to some of the snow and ice. The sun regains its strength and the equinox is not far off. Snow which blankets the roofs and high places is, on clear days, the first to relent and the incessant dripping, if the nights are cold, results in the formation of large icicles. These accumulate, greedily, and then succumb to their own indulgences. With the sun directly overhead one may watch the snow sublimate and drift away. The drive, because it has been plowed, is next to surrender within a day or so. The most recalcitrant accumulations however are those which cover open ground. Water which forms when the top layers melt simply percolates, making for more dense, more resistant, layers; these will persist for weeks to come. It is fun to watch the snow retreat, for as it does it reveals surprises in much the same way an eroding hillside may offer up its fossil treasure trove. Nothing so dramatic as Ötzi, the Iceman shows up here at the farm but emergent twigs and seed pods have their fascination. We begin each day by hunting, as if in a mine field, for the thinnest layers of ice which have formed overnight. These are located and noted; they are peripatetic, forming, then melting, only to reform and appear the next morning, elsewhere. We are vigilant for fear of the unforgiving force of gravity. When our water table is high and charged, melt waters find their way to nearby creeks, streams, and riverways. We took a walk yesterday in the dwindling daylight. I have photographed the outlet at Zindel Park before and yesterday its waters were pretty in the fading light. Joanna questioned the wisdom of wading into the cold water. I was focused on the falls and wondered what sort of contrast the relative uniformity of the cascade would provide for the chaos of the run. Both boots filled with water quickly, even before I had established my tripod in the stream bed. Joanna was watching for fear I might want a closer vantage to the falls. After I motioned that my feet were cold she rolled her eyes and bade me it was time to go. No matter. I had my picture.