December 3, 2013

Varieties of Pond Ice

First ice, October 30

One way I have of watching the season progress, and sometimes regress, is by noticing the changing state of ice on the pond. After a night or two of freezing temperatures, there is a jagged pattern of thin and brittle ice.

November 16

The ice thickened, but in the process its surface bubbled irregularly, catching light as sparkling points, so different from the geometry of earlier ice.

November 18

When the weather isn't too frigid, open water appears around the warm pond plants, offering a circle of reflections.

November 19

Light snow adheres to the broken sea of ice, making dramatic patterns.

November 20

As ice closes in on the dried cattails, the circles of water become smaller dark spots punctuating the snow.

November 27

Then, some warmth and heavy rain, and water floats on top of the icy layer, reflecting trees, a ghostly counterpoint to warm-colored weeds.

November 29

Frozen again into a bubbly surface, the pond is irregularly covered with light snow whose patterns might be a vast arctic landscape in miniature.

Today, December 3

Now the pond is pure white, covered in a thin coat of snow that may or may not remain all winter. Nothing is certain in a Northeast winter; the "January thaw" can bring very mild temperatures and open water again. Or it might happen that snow remains through spring. With all its changes, the weather here is always interesting, and its effects on the landscape beautiful.


  1. Magical. I am living vicariously through your words and images. This post thrilled me. Thanks os much.

    1. I'm so pleased that you felt that way about this post, Deborah. I hope to do another version of this as the winter wanes.