It's cold enough today that the lake was steaming. If you take a close look at the picture, you can see some faint white smudges over the surface of the water. (I did have a sightly better picture, but then Steve insisted he had to be in the photo, because he hasn't been in a blog post in a while. So what could I do?) Now, the thing is, you see that white rim on the left edge of the water? That's not the shore - that's ice. In other words, we've got near-frozen water, and the temperature differential with the air is great enough that the water turns to steam. Up here, on the North end of the lake, the steam is quite faint, not very noticeable, but at the South end, by the tree where the eagles like to sit, the steam was rising in great swathes of thick mist. Just like your pot of spaghetti water when it's about to come to the boil.
So, it's -20°C out there today (I'd tell you what that is in Fahrenheit, but I don't know - it's 20 Below Freezing, you figure it out), and there's snow. And oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth one hears! You'd think this was unusual for this time of year around here. Well, it's not. This is what the weather is supposed to do in January. But this year, we've had a really warm, snow-free winter so far, since that first snowfall and cold snap in November. No White Christmas. I guess this week Winter finally remembered its job, and decided to make up for lost time.
And so this made me think of seasons, and seasonality. I actually didn't like that warm, green Christmas we were having. Rain in December just didn't seem right. Now, of course this bitter, biting, brutal cold, and the white stuff that goes with it, is inconvenient. For example, Moaning Myrtle (my van, which developed a moaning whine recently when she's cold, hence the moniker) has to park at the top of our steep driveway; if I'd bring her down to the bottom and put her in the garage I likely wouldn't be able to get out again, in spite of assiduous snow shovelling. Also, as I should have known would happen, the cold water tap in the kitchen is frozen again; one night of -15°, and we're getting our cold from the bathroom sink. But, really, it's no big deal. It's winter.
And there's nothing we can do about it, about it being winter, I mean. Or the frozen kitchen tap. We just prepare for it (or not, as the case may be), dress warm, park Myrtle at the top - and wait for the seasons to change again. Six months from now the conversations on the street or in the grocery store will be along the lines of "Sheesh, it's a scorcher today!", and I'll be trying to keep my eyeballs from sweating when I drive down the road instead of preventing my finger tips from freezing off.
I don't like the inconveniences that come with the changing seasons - but I love how every season has its joys and pleasures. A hot bowl of beef stew is never so delicious as when it's cold, dark, and snowy outside, the cooking food steaming up the kitchen windows. But it would be depressing if that's all there ever was; if I didn't know that in a few months, the greatest pleasure will be an icy-cool glass of lemonade and a big plate full of fresh, crisp, colourful salad with balsamic vinaigrette to go with a piece of chicken, barbecued on the balcony to the accompanying roar and whine of the speedboats on the lake. (Okay, forget the speed boats. They're NOT one of the pleasures of summer. In fact, they're... Oh, never mind. More pleasant things to contemplate here.)
Oh, and I don't know what Steve and Horatio have been plotting on my bedside table in the last few days. I think it probably has something to do with chocolate chip cookies.
Life, the Universe, and Steaming Lakes. There is a time for every purpose under heaven.