Ah, the beauty and the power of ice.
All the necessary elements came together this weekend to make quite a spectacular event right behind my house.
The first element was frozen ground. And this, according to our local television station, KSNT, Topeka, has been the wettest winter — ever. So when it rained Saturday night, the ground was frozen and the water had absolutely nowhere to go but directly into rivers and streams. These bodies of water rose quickly and stayed that way until early this morning.
So, we got an early treat this year when the lake filled up (the river floods into the lake each time it get beyond a certain point). But this wasn’t what made the event awesome. Sunday morning the lake was full. Both islands in the middle of it were completely underwater. It was still cold so the lake was coated in a layer of ice. It was something I’d never seen before when the lake was flooded. Seen ice on it plenty of times, but only when it is at normal levels.
Still, this wasn’t the best part.
The lake continued to freeze throughout Monday while waters continued to be high. If it wasn’t for my poodle waking me up at 12:30 a.m. this morning I would have missed the best part — the most fascinating part.
I took my dog out in the icy cold air. We were greeted with a lot of noise coming from the lake. It took me a minute to wake up enough to figure out what was going on. That thick crust of ice was cracking and shattering as the water level was descending back into the river.
It was an odd sound. A crack would start at one end of the lake and continue to the other end, where it would shatter the ice there. I heard the ice come back down and hit the surface of the still-solid ice. Even though it was cold, I tucked my poodle into my coat and we just listened. She perked her ears listening to the ice crack and shatter as well. It was a unique situation and I wasn’t sure when or if I’d get to hear it again.
This went on all morning long as the water receded, scaring our outside dog into barking every once in a while. It was an eerie sound. And it startled me at first too.
This morning, both islands were peeking of the water and the ice was still cracking. But it left behind a beautiful scene — ice coated tree trunks and ice coated ground. It was beautiful. I had never seen ice left behind like that. But, I also have not ever seen flood waters go down when it was this cold.
It was a rare opportunity to stop and recognize life. Recognize Mother Nature. It was beautiful. I wish I could adequately describe this to everybody. There are just not enough words to describe how beautiful it was.