When it's well below zero, as it was last week for most of the week, even the running rivers steam.
I grew up in a river community. The house that our family owned (and where my mom still lives) was only a block from the river bank. When I was small, across the street from the house there was a lumber yard. When the village was first settled, the loggers would float the logs from up north down the river to the mill, where the lumber workers would draw them out, plane them down, and stock and sell the lumber or ship it out on the train.
I remember the yard being sold when I was seven or eight years old, and the buildings being used for a controlled burn by the local fire department. The fire was so hot that we could feel it scorch our faces from about a hundred yards away as we watched from our front porch with dishes full of popcorn.
There's a bank there now.
The river is always a great spectacle during the winter. When everything else is frozen solid and appearing to be completely devoid of all things living, the river teems with life. Though the ducks and geese have gone for the winter to warmer surroundings, the bald eagles have come in great numbers. They nest along the bluffs and soar high above the village, watching the river and its banks with their sharp eyes, waiting for a quick meal. With their wings wide open, they are the majestic kings of the sky.
Think of it! Think of a man, standing six feet tall or better, and then of a bird whose wings would outstretch his height. It never ceases to amaze me, pondering the variances of God's great creations: the smallest hummingbird would scarcely be visible next to the talloned foot of the great bald eagle. Yet each of them is perfectly designed, purposefully and beautifully created by the same God who created my soul and yours.
I remember waking up at Gram's house when I was small. Her living room windows looked out on the river, and in January and February, it was always a sight to behold.
This time of year, the water is always warmer than the air. Because the river which flows past town never freezes, when it's bitter cold, the river lets off steam into the air above it.
And on frigid days, this steam clings to every single branch, every blade of marsh grass, every tiny leaf which has still managed to hang on...and it freezes there. The result is something out of CS Lewis' Narnia--a shining, sparkling wonderland of pure white hoarfrost.
While butterflies and violets delight the senses during the warm summer months, this gorgeous natural masterpiece is a blessing to the eyes of all who gaze upon it.
I'll have to take the camera out next time God graces us with the beauty of hoarfrost...
And another delight?
My Pumpkin, my Snuggle Bug...she is two months old this very day.
And I am blessed.