Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘ice


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Ice is hard. Resistant. Stubborn. Ice can withstand any single human effort to break through…especially if ice has transformed concrete steps into a glistening, smooth, intransient obstacle that should be left alone. There is no point in trying to break it down (as I did) to get a better foothold – to get a better angle on the object you’re trying to photograph.

Such foolishness can possibly lead to disaster. I sometimes hurry to get things done – and in my unfocussed haste – misjudge and make mistakes that do not end well. I am a victim of my own stupidity.

There is a millisecond between attempt and failure when you are completely unaware of what you’ve just done. In that microscopic moment between slipping and landing you see nothing. The world around you becomes blank. First it’s simply, “Here I am trying to break through the ice with my foot. Here I am on my back lying on the ice. How did that happen?” Your next thought is, “Where’s my brand new expensive camera? Did I land on it? NO! Here it is secure in my hand that’s extended above my prone body. AT LEAST I WAS CONCIOUS ENOUGH TO SACRIFICE MY BODY TO PROTECT IT!” Then it’s, “Why can’t I get up?”

Because you’re lying at the bottom of uneven ice-coated steps, stupid!

Thankfully there are no witnesses to my next ridiculous act. Camera held high, I rolled over, grabbed the ice-coated railing with my free hand and painfully pulled myself to a more secure level. It took a while. Ice does not give up its victims without making them struggle. Eventually I made it. Looking down at the frozen steps I just scaled I chastised myself for being so reckless. And stupid.

When we take chances success is usually 50-50. Clearly this was a chance I shouldn’t have taken. Any go or no-go decision is often quick and thoughtless. Spur of the moment as they say. It is always difficult to judge the wisdom of one’s next move until after you’ve made it.

Life, the pundits say, is about taking chances. “Find a Way or Make One. Just Do It. Who Dares Wins. Deeds Not Words.” Pick any current phrase that suits you. Sometimes the taking works – sometimes it doesn’t. This time for me, it didn’t. That’s just the way it is.

I didn’t get that just-right angle for the shot I was looking for. But, I hurt too much to be disappointed.


Spring Thaw

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img_5368A few weeks back I was snowshoeing in MacGregor Point Provincial Park with a friend from Toronto. He was up for the weekend and convinced me to try ‘snow walking’ for the first time.

It was a magnificent day, cold, clear and crisp. The sky was an unbelievable blue. The ice was on the lake out to the horizon. The snow was soft and deep, I didn’t have the proper poles, but we swapped back and forth, and I managed. We left the marked trails and wandered freely along the lake edge in areas you wouldn’t dare walk without the ‘bear paws.” All in all, it was a liberating experience.

As we trudged along what used to be the beach we saw three swans swimming in a small not-yet-frozen pool close to the shore. We couldn’t help but wonder what they thought they were doing there. 

Since then, we have had a thaw if you want to call it that. In short, we’ve lost most of our snow. Grass is visible everywhere , fields are flooding, the river lost its ice and the roads are finally bare. Yesterday, N and I went back to MacGregor – without snowshoes. We wanted to see what the thaw had done.

The Skating Oval was closed. Small ice crusted streams ran down to the lake. Most of the snow in the bush was gone, what remained on the trails was hard packed and made walking difficult. The trails were, for the most part, bare to snow packed blocked with winter fallen trees waiting for the chainsaw. It was a mid-February thaw and we wondered if Spring was close enough to become a reality.

Along the shoreline, the beach reappeared. There were footprints in the sand where we had left snowshoe prints.

The swans were gone though.


Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

February 16, 2009 at 8:28 PM