Today not at Kingsford – How to separate your shadow

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I am back at my parents’ new house again for a few days. My mom asked me to come to look after the horses, which have made the move to the new property, while she returned to the old house to meet with realtors, visit the dentist, and other tasks. My sister was going to cover the weekend days, and I would be out during the beginning of the week. However, my arrival here was bumped forward a couple days by the unexpected (and proving terminal) breakdown of my sister’s car. She lives not too far away (relatively speaking) in Ottawa, so I came out a bit early and we spent today car shopping up in Ottawa. It’s always a bit of a stressful experience, but she thinks she may have found something she’d be happy with. In any case, my day was mostly tied up with that, and I didn’t get much opportunity for wandering about outside, except for briefly early in the morning. Not that I would likely have spent much time out.

It was a butt-numbing -10 oC (14 oF) plus windchill (so it felt more like -15 oC/5 oF, with tears forming in your eyes if you faced into the wind) this morning, and has been sub-freezing for a few days now. The ice on my parents’ pond had frozen over, and looked to be about an inch and a half to two inches thick, at least near the edges (I wasn’t willing to press my luck venturing further in). I wandered out a few feet from the shore, marveling at how glassy-smooth the surface of the ice was. It was possible to see right through it to the pond bottom, without it even looking like anything was there. It was an odd thing to see your feet disconnected from your shadow, so I had to take a photo.

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I measured the depth of the ice mostly using the bubbles that were trapped in it. It was neat in that you could see the stratification of the bubbles, I assume as they were slowly released from the mud over a period, while the ice gradually froze thicker. It’s interesting that things don’t really come to a halt under the water’s surface even as the surface itself freezes. As I was squatting on the ice, peering down between my feet at the pond bottom not so far below, I noticed water boatmen and little baby fish swimming around in the unfrozen depths. I find it amazing that critters are still moving in what must be incredibly cold water, only slightly above freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of any of them.

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There were water plants and the wildflowers that had flopped over from the shore trapped in the surface of the ice. Where they protruded they made interesting ice crystal patterns on the ice surface, almost looking like long white petals growing from the central seed pods. The glassy ice surface added to the effect, masking the change between the frozen submerged part, and the unfrozen bits sticking up from the ice, so it just looks like a browned stem that is perhaps hanging above the water.

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2 responses to “Today not at Kingsford – How to separate your shadow

  1. Nice! The one with the bubbles would make a nice wallpaper for the computer!
    I was hoping to get some pictures like this from around the shores here, but it snowed before the ice was strong enough to walk on.

  2. As Allmycke points out, that’s great that you were out on thick, transparent ice before the snow covered it or it broke and reformed. The detached shadow picture is fun!

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