Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Goodness and Light

Christmas Eve 2013
Hudson Falls, NY

Due to the times that Thoreau lived in, he doesn't have much to say on the subject of Christmas (although his family did celebrate it.) 
As for myself ... at this time of year, things are so hectic at work, keeping me indoors and busy with other things, that there is hardly a moment to reflect upon the meaning of the Holiday.

It's time to pause... Take a deep breath of cold clear air.

Last year at this time, I shared the lyrics of a Christmas song written in the 1600s.
Our song selection for today was written in … 1962 !
Interestingly enough, it was written in October of that year, when many feared a breakout of war. Sabres of the most evil kind were being rattled, and the world held its breath.

Having heard it at a very young age (and blissfully ignorant then of news of the day), 
I took the lyrics at face value, and it’s always been a favorite of mine.
Tonight it suddenly sprung to mind after reading my friend Jackie’s Christmas eve blog.

Joys of the season to you all !

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see ?
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see ?
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear ?
Ringing through the sky shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear ?
A song, a song
High above the tree
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know ?
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know ?
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time to Watch the Ripples

December 13, 2013
Moreau Lake State Park, NY

There is a season for everything,
and we do not notice a given phenomenon
     except at that season,
     if, indeed, it can be called the same phenomenon
     at any other season.
There is a time to watch the ripples on Ripple Lake,
to look for arrowheads,
to study the rocks and lichens,
a time to walk on sandy deserts;
and the observer of nature must improve these seasons
as much as the farmer his. …
A wise man will know what game to play to-day, 
and play it.
We must not be governed by rigid rules,
as by the almanac,
but let the season rule us.
The moods and thoughts of man are revolving
just as steadily and incessantly as nature’s.
Nothing must be postponed.
Take time by the forelock.
Now or never!
You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.
     HDT Journal, April 24, 1859

Our game this month was to catch a December phenomenon -- to see the bubbles of Bubble Bay.
Jackie and I have been waiting for Moreau Lake to settle down and start freezing over.
Oh and each of us has been plenty preoccupied since Thanksgiving, with holiday errands, extra work hours, sniffles and dismal weather on many days.

You must have deep cold nights,
cold enough to freeze one particular corner of the big Lake;
and calm windless days,
and the ice needs to be black and clear for you to see the frozen bubbles,
stacked up like silver coins.
And you need to see it before the snows come and cover up the ice.
(Some years we don’t see them at all.)
Since the forecast for tomorrow was SNOW,
today was the day to go search for bubbles!

It’s great to have a walking pal who understands the importance of these little quests.
This morning it was very cold, with a bright breeze, and the lake was freezing up, from the edges in.

I feel like I haven’t gotten accustomed to the cold air yet, and was all bundled up, but still felt chilled.
Jackie grew up right on Lake Michigan, and is eager to walk on the frozen lake again.
She could not resist testing the ice, even though it was just a narrow patch along the shoreline and obviously pretty darn thin. 
There's no way I am going out there till it's about a foot thick.

Here she is skidding along, 

right before hearing a big crrrrrrack beneath her feet.
She kept to the shore after that.

The breeze dissuaded us from loitering, and we walked quickly to Bubble Bay.

It was still un-frozen.

Jackie scraped away the snow-dust, and found a few single bubbles along the shoreline.
I found a spot where a goose had tested the ice like Jackie did.

We decided to go all the way around the lake, despite my limited time this morning.
First, a quick detour for me to get a nice scenic photo of Turkey Hill,--
it’s all lined up now …

... ah, heck, here comes Jackie into the shot, tootling out on the ice again !

I admired the new signage describing the beaver lodges out in Back Bay

especially this part !

At The Little Beach, we found not bubbles, but a series of bubblers,
open spots in the strip of ice. 

The wind was giving the lake a visible heartbeat.

Bloop, bloop, every now and then some water would spritz out. We watched awhile, and laughed.

It’s great to be so easily entertained.
I soon forgot my disappointment about the bubbles, and instead was mesmerized by a lake which was freezing up right before our eyes.
Continuing on along the shore, things got confusing.
Everything was in motion.

It was hard to tell what was water, and what was ice. 

And there seemed to be water in some yet un-named state of matter, between solid and liquid.

We turned to look back at the mountain in the distance.
I noticed what seemed to be solid ice, reflecting the trees –

Only the reflection was … flexing!
(Watch the right side of the screen. Sorry about the wind-noise.)

Reluctantly we left this lovely scene, and headed back to the cars. But I was glad I took the time to look for one thing, and find another, and let the season rule the day.