Posted by Derek
Dec 09 2009

The cold keeps the riff-raff out. They migrate south for the winter.

I had a brief opportunity the other night to spend some time out on the dock. Yes, indeed: we leave our dock out to freeze into the lake. It gives us a platform to work from while the ice is thin, both early winter and early spring. As long as the wind is perfect when the ice melts away, very little harm comes to it. The problem we’ve had - once - is that the ice was not so thin when it first started to melt, and we had a south wind that carried the ice, dock, and a boatlift (with boat still on it) out into the middle of the lake.

It was never dull growing up around here. But I digress.

The absolute silence on a calm night during the winter months up here is nearly a spiritual experience. During the summer months, there’s an amount of white noise. Insects buzzing, nocturnal creatures slinking about, the gentle lapping of water along the shore… And the occasional boat taking a nighttime cruise.

When the lake freezes, it all changes. On a calm night there is literally no sound. Should it also be snowing, you can stand outside and listen to the snowflakes impacting the ground. If you’re lucky (some would say ‘blessed’) you can catch the ice singing. I really can’t put it into better words than that, and I don’t have the audio gear to capture it. My grandmother came up for my birthday this year and heard it for the first time in her life. (She’s 82, if math serves me…)

What it is, technically, is the ice freezing, expanding, cracking from the pressure, and refreezing. When you have a sheet of ice covering a lake this size, the noise of a crack carries through the entire sheet, ringing it like a string on a violin. The entire surface becomes the resonator and the sounds carry for miles.

I’ve said for the last five years that ‘I really should get something to record that next year.’ One of these times, I may actually do it.

4 Responses

  1. Darius Greywind says:


    I’ll just settle for living somewhere where ‘ice’ is only obtained from the freezer, myself.

  2. Tsunari says:

    We are missing a story right now. Hmmm, or are you done with Terra Fabula for the moment?

  3. Derek says:

    Had a busy couple of days all of a sudden - it’s coming!

  4. Derek says:

    Two hours late (unless you go by my normal posting time instead of ‘anytime friday’, in which case, 26 hours) but it’s up.

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