As I looked at the sparkling, cold, and very solid ice, I speculated that all the frogs, turtles, and snakes must be safely hibernating for the winter. Then I looked down at the clear ice near the edge of the pond, and look who I saw!
He turned and swam off, but I snapped a shot. I am glad I had the camera set to record in camera RAW, because my other settings were still for bright light, like the last photo! I was fumbling with the settings while taking a couple more steps, and another turtle swam off before I had all my settings adjusted! Were they looking for access to the air? Should I have opened a hole in the ice for them? These were good-sized turtles, maybe 8 or 9 inches from the front of their shells to the backs, so they have already survived several winters with iced-over ponds. Surely they have some way of getting air?
Well, miniature daggers – pointy, sharp, and gleaming.
It is so amazing that these crystalline structures form overnight! They transform the world; as the sun rises it strikes sparks from each individual crystal so that the entire outdoors glitters and glows, magically transformed. Then that very sunlight that sparks the transformation melts it all back to common, everyday water.
Don’t you just love these ice crystals growing between logs in the pond? Crystals are endlessly fascinating, whether these common but evanescent* ice crystals or the incredibly huge, unimaginably ancient gypsum crystals in the Mexican Cueva de los Cristales: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/photogalleries/giant-crystals-cave/*Evanescent – Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing. Oh, how I love finding the perfect word, one that expresses exactly what I wanted to say as economically as possible! 🙂
Hmm, ice crystals grow relatively quickly at temperatures of around 32 degrees F, while the gypsum crystals formed incredibly slowly (over millennia) at around 136 degrees F.