Monday, January 19, 2015

January Thaw

Rio Grande at Embudo

It is January. We are in the midst of January Thaw officially. But even before NOAA recognized it we where have gorgeous weather. Perfect to get out with the camera and search for pictures of ice. Of course. You do not want too much ice. You do not want it so cold it is frozen over and white. That is unattractive ice. The prettiest ice is like the photograph below. It is clear and transparent. This particular piece of ice, however, was only 4" across.

Melting Ice sheet?

Mind you the opening photo has some snow in it. Snow in the shady spots at least.  The the mid stream boulder in the picture below should be coated with ice and have an ice flow above it. But it was a high 40's kind of day without a cloud in the sky. I was clearly asking for too much.

I wanted ice and what I got was beautiful, clear, cold water. I frankly could not believe the colors. The Rio Grande can be rather muddy from time to time. The colors are a reflection of the rocks on the bottom and the depth of the water above them. The water was running high for January. Evidently upstream was getting the January thaw too.

Skiers and ski areas panic during January thaw. But for most of us this is a welcome respite from the doldrums of winter. The dogs are thrilled because I am willing to walk them longer, and they can escape from under foot and bask in the sun outside the studio door.

I confess. I was a bit depressed in December. I do not like short days and long nights. A few years ago I got on a real energy saving trip (fear of winter bills) and would sit in the dark with only one light on and the fire in the wood stove. The thermostat never went above 55. Hell, I was running around with my jacket unzipped trying to find ice just this last week. And I figured I could always put on more clothes; snuggle under another afghan and an extra cat.  That is even rather comfortable, but I finally figured out I needed more light. I find a dark house depressing. It isn't even necessary they are broad spectrum, but I need a light on in the room I am in and the two nearest rooms or I feel caved. Claustrophobia gobbles me up.

I do not do those fluorescent lights. I find their coolness even more depressing. Gradually adding more LED's. But I figured I am pretty energy conscious because in the day time, when the sun is out it is also in my house. The studio with all its windows makes me and my plants happy. And the fur kids.

Once we get past those long dark nights.

I visited Alaska one August and the length of the night was just two hours. And frankly it was not that dark. Flying from Anchorage to Nome the sun rose and set on the same side of the plane during the short flight. I quickly imagined the days around winter solstice and figured I could never live there. Besides the ice is white. Not the beautiful crystal clear stuff I like to photograph.

Maybe if we get another cold snap I can go down to the river and see if ice has happened. Until then I am just thrilled with more light and more warmth. Sorry, skiers.


  1. What a lovely blog. The ice you have photographed is so beautiful. I haven't seen ice or snow for over 22 years so looking at it here is wonderful. I know what you mean about dark rooms although when I lived in winter climates, I would close the curtains and put strategically placed table lamps on. Several of them. I loved the feeling of business it gave. Even after we left the kitchen after dinner I would leave a lamp on in the corner and soft concealed lighting beneath the cupboards. I am not a winter person. I like long light days. And like you I cannot bear fluorescent lighting. Even in my hotel days 40 years ago, I made the Manager take the fluorescents out of the Ladies Powder Room and put in flattering lighting.

  2. What a wonderful comment. I do fine except for December. Already everything feels brighter and lighter.

  3. That word `business` is supposed to be `cosiness`. Kindlefires like phones make mistakes!! I always found February a depressing month.


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