If we’re very fortunate, once or twice each winter conditions will be just so and we’ll be serenaded for a couple of hours by the sounds of our lake in the grip of a deep freeze. Today was just such a day.
The best way to enjoy this particular symphony is by being in the midst of it, so when you hear the orchestra tuning up it’s time to bundle up and head out onto the ice to enjoy nature’s music.
From the best seats in the house you can feel the rumble of the bass as a major crack occurs at the other end of the lake and reverberates through the ice like the growl of submarinal thunder.
Then listen to the pinging as smaller cracks echo through the stillness, contributing an ethereal sound to the piece that is not unlike a whale’s call.
Finally the crisp clear crackle as a nearby split ripples and races towards you only to disappear somewhere deep below just before you think the ice will collapse underfoot.
When in full song, as it was today, the sound is continuous, broken only by the cawing of crows overhead and the stamping of feet as the audience, enthralled, tries to stay warm and thereby enjoy the experience as long as possible.
It’s a great way to start the New Year.