Sunday 11 March 2012

Glass Ice

Seven days ago at this time, there was a blizzard blowing and the snow was piling up just in time to turn the rush hour roads into a skating rink. Since then however, the weather Gods have smiled upon us. We have been blessed with above average daily temperatures and bright sunshine for the most part. Most of the snow that dropped a week ago has melted, except in the piles where the snow ploughs dropped it and of course at the sides of the roads and in shady areas.

Buster and I went for a walk today and it smelled of spring. Not so much of trees budding or tulips popping up, but more of the possibility of spring. Oh, we will have more snow and very likely some pretty cold weather yet, but those of us that spent a lot of our lives outside know that winter has done its worst for the year and it will have to wait until next year for revenge. Until then, we will enjoy Mister Spring, Mister Summer and Miss Autumn.

One of my favourite things about this time of year is the ice. I just love how it will freeze over night so that in the morning all of the puddles will have a cap of clear, smooth and brittle ice. When I was a kid going to school I would love to break the ice, even though I would eventually get a “soaker” and have to spend the day in school with a wet foot. The sound was just like the sound of breaking glass, but it didn’t have the terror of getting caught and having Mrs Findlay telling your dad and the spanking that went with it. No, this was guilt free breakage! I wasn’t the only one that loved this ice, and some days it was nearly impossible to find any at all on the way to school. It didn’t matter though, because just as sure as the sun would come up, when it did there were more puddles with glass ice to break.

I still like to break this ice. However, now I will leave it alone if I am on a school route so that the kids of today can have the joy of breaking glass ice, and in 50 years or so they will be able to write a blog about it. Today was a Sunday and since there is no school I felt no need to save the ice. Buster and I walked along and broke as much as we could see and I became that ten year old again. Of course, ice can be dangerous and if you aren’t careful you might just slip and fall. I am pretty sure footed when it comes to ice, or shall I say that I am able to control the slipping pretty well.

I read once that mice or ground squirrels will burrow through the snow in the winter. I have always pictured them having little snow tunnel highways which will lead them from one burrow to the next. That way, no matter how unpleasant the weather they stay nice and cozy in the tunnels. I guess for them the spring melt is nothing to look forward to. They lose their safe tunnels and are now visible to hawks, owls and other sharp eyed, winged predators.

Every now and then I hope that I will wake up mouse size and be able to travel in these snow tunnels. Oh, wouldn’t they be just stunning? The sun would light them with a blue, white radiance during the day and at night the tunnels would be lit with moonlight. The tunnels would sparkle for their entire length as if there were diamonds in the walls, and when you came to a hill you would be able to slide down, just like a water slide. Of course every so often along the tunnels there would be places where food is available and I image the inhabitants would have hollowed out a nice sized room. I wonder if I would be able to speak mouse or squirrel if I were in that world. I don’t see why not, because if it were possible to shrink down to mouse size, then of course I would speak fluent mouse.

I have been hoping this for most of my life, and so far I have just been getting bigger, not smaller. To tell the truth, I am not that fond of caves or tunnels. Mind you I don’t have giant hawks, owls and eagles threatening to devour me from above either. Well, I do still like to break ice and sometimes there are icicles to eat (more on icicles at a later date).

When you think of it, the ice covered puddles are really kind of magical. They can turn a sixty year old man into a boy again with the drop of a boot.

PS. Saw you jogging today Alex and was going to join you but Buster talked me out of it. Dogs!!!

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