Monday, November 14, 2011

Thermal Inertia

The snow can fall. But unless the ground is frozen, it won't stay. It falls, melts, disappears. Back to water. Back to snow to try again until the ground is ready.

The old woman in the easy chair who sells produce along the road has gone inside for the winter. Dried stubs of corn line a field on one side of her small white house. Dried stubs of corn grid a field on the other. A clear plastic tarp suffocates heads of winter squash on the same old banquet table that has been alive with produce since September.

Thermal inertia.

The spell of the Big Lake recedes over distance. Fading inland, the ground is white absent the warm winds from off the vast waters. The trees are white. Road signs, and fields set in even rows of dried corn stubs are white. Whiteness frames the black and green and brown-red cat tails of a wetland where ringlet ripples still break the glassy surface from surfacing fish.

Water bodies freeze last. Snow turns to water on unfrozen earth. The next snow will bring the freeze. Or the next. Or the one after that, until the earth radiates ice into ice.

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