Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Morning in December

            The Farmer's Almanac call today the "Cold Full Moon" and is it all of those.  Solstice is on the horizon so the days are short at the lake and at nine am we are watch the glow of dawn in the mountain peaks.  By ten am we are in full daylight but no sunlight strikes us.  The sun is only shining on the three thousand foot peaks around us.  We’ll only have direct sunlight for a couple hours during midday and there will be little warmth in it.  The sky is clear and the temperature around 6 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the fair weather we have hard a north wind that blew over twenty miles an hour last night. 
            The wind has reworked the postcard snow that arrived over the weekend.  The ski trail is obliterated and the trails of snow machines, moose, and snowshoes are incorporated into drifts and scour marks that cover the surface of the lake.  We try to keep a groomed ski trail around the lake through the winter, and it had an Olympic quality finish yesterday when we were skiing.  We had a warning then that it wouldn’t last for even then the wind was up and the temperature down, so we were pretty well bundled when we headed out.  The gusts were pushing the snow off the trees along the shore, creating tiny brief blizzards in the treetops, tumbling down through the green boughs to rest for a time on the snow beneath. 
            This week was the first skiing on the lake this year and the inconsistent weather in November has deprived us good ice for skating.  Living here on the lake we have found that good skating ice on a lake is a rare thing that comes of flat water freezing in still air without being stirred by wind and staying could enough for long enough for the ice to be thick and permanent.  This year we had none of these.   The wind kept the water tumbling as it froze so the south shore of the lake became a rumbled blanket of dirty ice then the rain would come with a warm-up and breakdown the ice so that it reformed even rougher.  By the time the lake was full frozen and we waited for it to thicken enough to skate on, the snow came in and now bonded to ice.   The waves are back on the lake, but they are waves of snow shaped by the north wind. 

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