January 24, 2011


By Eric D'Aleo

Okay, I’ll admit it.

I’m addicted to ice. No, not the ice that accumulates on the deck, which causes me to grab desperately at the railing as I make my way from the front door of the house to the slick driveway where the car awaits for my morning commute. Nor the ice that requires hours of chopping to get a small hole in the pond to investigate what’s happening below. The ice I crave is the kind you get when delicate ice bridges form above winter streams spanning the frigid waters between two snow banks. This ice is so fragile that it seems as if the bridge will melt if you breathe too harshly. The ice I crave slowly flows down from rocky overhangs creating clear, glittering teeth of some fabled monster or forms bars of ice, becoming what I used to tell my children was an “ice jail.” However, what I really yearn for is that special ice feature, the ice cave. Not just any cave, but a rocky overhang that has had a waterfall freeze in front of it, so that you can crawl behind it, completely sealed off from the outside. Even better is when the water is sandwiched between two layers of ice so one layer is frozen on the outside while the other layer is frozen on the inside and yet you can still hear the rushing and gurgling of the water between the two ice layers. Watching the water rush past like this can be mesmerizing while the clear glasslike shapes sparkle in the bluish light. From outside it doesn’t take much imagination to see the overlapping frozen, whitened layers as a giant birthday cake with too much frosting. I’ll admit as I’m getting older, the cold temperatures bother me more than they used to, but with the recent dropping of the temperatures, the ice beckons and I… I have to answer.

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