One January afternoon we headed for a lakeside park to combat our Seasonal Affective Disorder, at least that’s what we call our lazy hibernating. It was a cold day, but the clear blue sky held brilliant sunshine. For once, we piled on the right coats, scarves, mitts and hats to enjoy a winter walk instead of either dashing from house to car in unzipped jackets, or skidding along city sidewalks, shivering in our downtown coats and dressy boots.
At the park, we were dramatically rewarded.
Lake Ontario’s huge waves exploded into white spray as they crashed against the shoreline boulders. The rushing water roared in loudly and then hissed its retreat through beach pebbles. The sun’s warmth on our faces tempered a chilly wind. Down a gravel walkway we discovered that the splashing spray had sailed past the huge rocks, and drenched the trees, bushes and long grasses. Somehow Nature had managed to tame the lake’s flying water into a sparkling, glassy cover for the landscape. We had arrived at a dazzling gallery.
One scraggly tree had become a Tiffany window of art glass, through which we could see the sun’s glitter on the lake.
Long stems of dead, beige grass were shining, arched ice sculptures lining our pathway. Sumach bushes wore extra-thick ice coatings and stood like the walls of an enticing fairytale entrance, as every inch mirrored sunlight.
And then there were the dogwoods, dormant and leafless like most vegetation here in winter, but blessed with red bark. Their scarlet, twiggy branches gleamed through a glaze of clear crystal, looking more magical than any Christmas decorations.
As we adults gasped at the natural artwork, the children researched what can be done with ice, grass, and bushes. They stomped on low-lying grass to hear and feel the crackling crunch. They carefully stripped a branch of its frozen coating and discovered that they were holding a hollow tube.
“This could be a straw!”
Smaller twigs became handles for ice popsicles. We all learned that if you tap together thick pieces of ice you hear chimes.
Oh joy! Exhilarated by fresh air, and tipsy with beauty, we gave thanks.