Friday, February 11, 2011

The January Sunsets

January 30, 2011
Ice Meadows on Hudson River

Today I went with Jackie and Marie upriver to the Ice Meadows. They are marvelous places to explore and botanize in the summer, but it’s this time of year that they earned their name. For here is where the combination of terrain, waterflow and climate all combine to allow formation of frazil ice.

I’m still not exactly sure what it is; it’s a type of ice that flows like a liquid and seems to congeal and break up at a whim. Unfortunately, I was about 2 weeks too late to see the fresh crop of it this year. It has snowed heavily since then. Still, you could see the wrinkles and folds in the river created by this frazil backing up and reflowing.

The trail there is well-trodden at this time of year, making snowshoeing fairly easy.

Unless you try bushwacking it out to the river's edge...

Marie came along because one of her archaeology buddies had sent her a pretty cool video about frazil ice. (google "Yosemite Frazil" to find it on YouTube.)

We all made another stop upriver at The Glen, where we walked out on a bridge where the road crosses the Hudson. Here is the Frazil Factory of the river.

The bridge vibrated as Sunday ski-traffic went whizzing by, and I didn’t linger there!

Later on, Jackie and I rode north, looking for other river vantage points. Clouds came in, the road began to whiten, and we were running out of daylight.  I suggested we head back. We pulled over onto a side road to turn around.

The first unusual sight was a phone booth. Wow, haven’t seen one in so long … must record for posterity …

Across the street was a small lane. It led down to what looked like a millpond.

All at once, the sun came out, though snow was still falling –
without a word,

we both jumped out of the car and walked down the lane,
cameras in hand.

It was a charming sight. We stood on a much smaller bridge this time,
no cars whizzing by,
just the sound of snowflakes falling.

After some time just gazing at this scene, we headed home.
Even from the Northway, the sunset was something to behold.

Jackie was snapping photos out the windshield
while I gamely kept the car between the lines,
catching only glimpses of the colors of the west.

The sunsets, I think, are now particularly interesting.
The colors of the west seem more than unusually warm,
perhaps by contrast with this simple snow-clad earth
over which we look and the clear cold sky, --
a sober but extensive redness,
almost every night passing into a dun.

There is nothing to distract our attention from it.
…The January Sunsets.

HDT Journal, January 11, 1856

1 comment:

  1. How exquisitely your photos have captured that magical light and the diamond-dust snowfall! I've replayed the video over and over, remembering that serene and luminous moment. And I could gaze at that sunset photo for hours. Such a transient glow, but thanks to your capturing it, we have it forever. Aren't we lucky to be so enchanted by sunsets and snowfalls? A lot cheaper than Las Vegas or Disneyland.