Sunday, December 10, 2006

Unlimited Stars

The lake is not frozen yet. Bruce and I made a quick trip to Chicago. We expected to see solid ice when we got home but no luck. In the morning before the wind comes up, parts of the lake are skimmed over. As soon as the wind comes up, the skims break up.

We watch carefully for freeze up and ice out. Many years ago Dr. Kenton Stewart of the University of Buffalo started keeping track of this information for lakes across the country. First Bruce’s mother, Justine, and now I received letters with post cards each fall and spring to record our dates.

I asked him once if he could send me a printout of Gunflint Lake over the years. He replied that it’s just on bits and pieces of paper. Dr. Stewart needs an assistant to put all this into an Excel program. Someday he will be able to send the information out to me.

Meanwhile, we look each morning to see what happened overnight. Once it freezes, we watch the dogs carefully for a bit so they don’t go out on the ice before it is safe. Even for us it is tempting to go out but I just think about how cold going through would be.

Once the ice is safe, one of my favorite activities is to go out on it at night. On a clear night to stand and just look up is wonderful. We have so little artificial light here, that the number of visible stars is overwhelming. I feel sorry for city folks who don’t get the star show that we get each night. Somehow unlimited people and shopping doesn’t come close to unlimited stars in the sky.

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