It’s been a long-ass, super cold winter, y’all.
I would guess that 98% of people who read this website would agree. Basically, if you live East of the Rockies, your life sucked for the last four months.
I’ll spare you the dramatic story of how my apartment’s ice-laden roof thawed directly into my kitchen and kept me awake through the night trying to save my appliances and keep the apartment below me from flooding while my ceiling collapsed inward in inverted volcanoes of water.
And instead, I’ll share with you some neat pictures of Lake Michigan. Photography was the silver lining in this winter. The silver, snowy, icy lining.
Here’s are two pictures of the very first freeze.
As you can see, there are basically two shore lines.
The first picture shows the most internal shoreline, which is all whipped up and neat looking. And I can’t figure out exactly how it happened that the second shore line came into being, but you can definitely see it in the bottom picture.
If I had to venture a guess, I would say that water couldn’t make it up over the frozen waves near the actual shore, and sort of drifted back out, pulling dirt along with it. In the process, it created a fake beach–the span of white between the two sets of frozen waves–which was all water and sand and snow, but definitely strong enough to stand on.
Not that I attempted it, but I saw some morons walking around on it, and was like, huh…I’ll just dial 911 in case they go straight through the snow to the lake basin, and then they never did.
Anyway, after the fake beach formed, another row of waves froze and created the second shoreline. Where it ended, water started to move freely again. Although…you can see more chunks of ice beginning to form here, which would eventually create a THIRD fake beach and shoreline, because Chicago winter.
At this point, I ran off to the Pacific Northwest for Christmas, completely avoiding the first polar vortex.
At the time, of course, I thought I had completely avoided the worst of winter. And then when I got back to Chicago, the weather people started talking about a second polar vortex in that giddy, geeky “we’re really sorry about this, because it’s going to be horrible, but we’re also kind of fascinated” way that scientists have.
So, in other words, I got mine in the end. Payback for all those Facebook pictures of sunny ocean landscapes.
Anyway, I survived, obviously. And then around the beginning of February, I took off to Toronto for a conference. I decided against driving, considering how shit the weather had been and how badly my car handles in snow. And so on the way back into Chicago, I managed to catch these bird’s eye views of the lake:
And then, in the bottom picture, check out how far the freeze extended from the shore! You can really see that double/triple shoreline effect in that last picture.
Here’s a picture of that effect from the ground–you can see where the water cuts through and then freezes again on the other side of the small stream of blue:
Oh, and then…the water disappeared entirely. This was so eerie. A total desert of white.
And then here we have the beginning of the thaw. Note how, as the snow melts, all those big heaps of dirt are exposed. I honestly wonder what the city will do with the shoreline this spring…it is seriously messed up as far as sand distribution goes, and things aren’t draining properly.
I took the above photo a few weeks back, and then just today I found it was warm enough to venture out again to see how the thaw was going. Not a whole lot of progress, people…this is going to be a slow deal. But I was absolutely in love with the textures and swirls and bubbles exposed as the ice melts away. And the coolest part? You can actually hear the lake melting. All the crackling and dripping. I just stood there, all bundled up, and listened to it for a little while. It’s kind of awe-inspiring, the way it permeates the soundscape.
And here are a few last pictures of the thaw, just because it’s beautiful.