One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to walk on the frozen pond. The rest of the year we travel over it in the canoe but once winter sets in and it freezes over and is covered with snow I love to venture out on it. I sit on the frozen surface surrounded by whiteness and the snow covered hills and sink into the larger world of Nature watching the snow play across the ice pushed by the wind, watching the distant raven circle overhead. I imagine the moose and deer that our in the woods and follow with my eyes the tracks of the undetermined feline that appear each year in the snow crossing the pond. I love the winter world, my favorite times in Alaska were the winters and I love to curl up on the couch with a good book about the early polar explorers and their adventures and mis-adventures. There is something about the cold and the snow that draws me in. I love that we have created a space of warmth within this winterness from which we can venture forth out into the cold beauty of the winter world. I would love someday to spend another winter with 18 hour nights in the far north, exploring outdoors by day and hibernating in a snug warm cabin at night.
At night when the moon out I often head out upon the pond to soak in the magic of moon light on snow and if the conditions are right snow covered trees. It is like walking a in a dream and the stars draw down and sparkle on the snow, the world reduced to a moon filled pool of light.
In the most recent issue of the New Yorker I came across an account of one man’s fascination and love of polar exploration and of his quests to reach the South Pole on skis and to make a solo Antarctic crossing. Reading it I realized that the love of polar extremes is the same love I have of winter pond walking raised to the nth degree. You can read that article here.