Go Jump (on) a Lake
Ice watching at Smith Lake in Whitefish, Montana
Subject: Smith Lake, Whitefish, Montana
Go! Go jump on a lake. Make sure it’s frozen all the way through. It has to be near zero, and hovered around there for quite some time. When you do, you will hear the lake echo back to you. It’s unnerving at first, when all the horror of what could go wrong if the ice is too thin runs through your mind, just before the split-second you realize you are trying land on a slick surface. But you will be well rewarded, when it booms, deep and distant. Have your friend jump while you put your ear down and listen. When you’re done creating a drum line under the ice, look.
Ice watching, like cloud watching, takes a certain amount of imagination and play. What will you see? More often than not, I see the stars reflected back from above. The black depths of the ice, the woven flaws, the cracking white streams, remind me of what I envision it might be like to travel the universe.