A Delicate Hour

Some moments are so remarkable you wish you could bottle them. Many of these are small. Like climbing a peach tree, on a hot summer afternoon, resting against the trunk, and feasting on ripe peaches . This day in early September also held an hour of astonishing small beauty, and I felt lucky to have it.

Winter is in the air. The temperatures are not yet cold, a little above zero. But you can taste what’s coming, and now that we lose the sun, temperatures get lower at night. We have had frost. Today I was walking along the river, and I saw ice. I scrambled out into the river bed to look.

All this area has been churned by heavy equipment moving rocks and dredging a channel against future flooding. But water will find a way. Every year it pushes aside the boulders and digs through the gravel barriers. A lot of mud had been churned up. The water had smoothed that into beach-ripples. And on top of these, the first delicate skin of ice had formed.

It was beautiful day. The sky was a wash of deep blue. The only sounds were the rippling of the diminished river, and the plinking of the fragile ice as it cracked in the sunlight. I saw ice trying to form under a thin layer of water. Meanwhile the ice already there was shining with melt. Some had collapsed under its own weight, too thin to hold. As I stepped rock to rock, a family of geese made honking test passages over me as they tried their wings before the long migration.

I spent about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, hopping from rock to rock. Only my footprints marked the mud, and only I would see this brief show of new ice. Already it was failing, tinkling like glass. It was beautiful, extraordinary. A perfect small moment before the tide of winter flows in.

6 thoughts on “A Delicate Hour”

    1. Thank you so much! I thought the ice was amazing, and it was a strange feeling to realize that I was the only person who would stand there and see this one, particular tiny event.

  1. Oooh. Thanks for sharing that lovely small wonder. Both your photos and your words help it come true, and these days in particular I greatly appreciate enjoying bits o’ beauty vicariously. – MLE

    1. I am so glad that anything I do makes your day even a little bit better. Thank you, and I hope you continue to enjoy my work.

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