Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A stretch of river XLVI: Paradoxes

Ice layers forming around a rock, Lake Augusta, Augusta, Kansas. Taken last winter by The Mrs.

This morning, the temperature is officially 23 degrees. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and Thursday. So, we're not done with winter here in the still-cold heart of the mid-continent. By contrast, for some of my fellow bloggers, Spring is already well on in its business.

But that's not the paradox this post's title refers to.

Long ago, I once said in a post something to the effect that the Little Arkansas' surface is sometimes so calm that to describe it as being "smooth as glass" would be only a slight exaggeration; this morning's river (hmm . . . ) very much fit that description this sunrise. As Scruffy and I crossed the bridge over into the park, we could clearly see where the river's main channel lies: over along the apartment-side of the river. We could see this because of the flotsam moving on the surface, of course.

The flotsam this morning isn't trash but ice: small frozen sheets of water that have coalesced around some bit of something in the water, just as raindrops or snowflakes do. Thank God for (some) particulates, no? Anyway, along the shore, some of that ice was bunching up in eddies and around branches that hang into the water. You know the rest: if it stays cold long enough, those gatherings of ice-flotsam will grow and thicken and eventually spread across the river and prove once again to be a temptation to the Scruffmeister.

Okay, okay: the paradox. Just this: Ice, a symbol of the cessation of the water's motion, nevertheless revealing motion that, given the river's placid surface, would have been invisible to us. I have written about this idea before, though that time it headed in a different direction, as it were.

So, the ice. And the trees, their bare branches sounding like nothing so much as old bones when the wind causes them to strike each other, reaching into the sky pleading, it seemed, for the cold to be merciful: Spring's place-holders.

1 comment:

Pam said...

Ahhh...ice. I rarely see it anymore, other than the stuff that plops into the ice maker's container.

Spring is here. Being in the Caribbean for a short (very short) trip - then returning to coastal SC, I thought that spring would seem further away, but that is not the case. There are tiny leaves emerging on the pomegranate trees, and the red clover that I planted last weekend in the back garden are beginning to sprout.

No ice though.