Sophie bursts from a drift
Another afternoon of Blowing, drifting lake effect show as the next outbreak of arctic air approaches. Many of the fledgling pines of the Bluecircle are safely hidden beneath the surface. Sophie clamors and bounds over this strange new land, moving too quickly for the camera but getting a good workout all the same. The wind sweeps the length of the lake and seems to burst over the hill, collecting and drifting snow behind trees, buildings, anything stationary. This is snowshoe weather- even these grumpy tracks are promptly erased by the Alberta clipper.
Better to stay off the highways on such afternoons and nights. Soon it will be too cold for the assurance of dry pavement, and even the brown, wet slush produced here by a mixture of dune sand and salt will begin to turn to ice. The plow operators have done an admirable job of clearing most snow drifts, but as night falls Winter will have her way again.
Interstate drivers in the “Lake Effect” zone downwind of Lake Michigan know this is the season of a relatively bare right-hand lane and to its left, the snow lane. Trucks, timid drivers and those with poorly equipped vehicles mostly eschew the snow lane lest they visit the median or worse. At times only a dusting of white covers the dry pavement to their left, which disappears in the path of SUVs that choose to pass them for less obstructed road ahead. Heavier show, drifts, lighter traffic, or falling temperatures can make transition into the passing mode more problematic. Risk is never far away in the depths of this season, especially in the snow lane.
Paw Paw Lake in Fall
There’s been no shortage of snow, drifting and cold on the Bluecircle this winter, meaning the cross country skis regularly have a fresh path ahead. The daily route goes east along one boundary, then downhill to the marsh and back west to the Conservancy. Last week an unseen hawk left wingprints on takeoff from the dry lake-effect snow, and a red fox skirted the perimeter as he made his way towards the marsh. There are few footprints on the coldest days; even the deer have taken cover.
The season’s quiet is broken at times by Sophie, an adolescent German Shepard who is the farm’s newest resident. When she happily bounds through drifts her chest and shoulders leave oval craters in the snow that nearly hide the fact that legs and paws carried her forward. Sophie would like more rabbits to come dance with her in the snow. Based on the speed at which she removes stuffing and squeakers from her stuffed toys , this would not end well for the bunnies.
Icy clouds over Coloma
This Bluecircle chronicle lagged behind events in 2013 and left the end of Summer and passage of Autumn behind. A renovation adding writing space to the not-so-big house overlooking the lake was designed and begun, and the work of forsaking city life for retirement was advanced. Boxes of books, antiques, clothes and the remaining garden tools made their way to the garage where some were destined to be discarded, but more made their way to the truck. Things, images and words forgotten in the past were rediscovered, and sorted anew. After Autumn’s seasonal changes that demand preparations and rituals of passage for the new year the relative quiet and peace of long winter nights and ski trails is welcome.