it needs to be below 32 degrees fahrenheit for icicles to form. this is wisconsin, so that’s not really a problem here. it’s winter. there are stalactites of ice everywhere. when they form on gutters is when i start worrying. ice-damming is a cruelly-lurking by-product of our winter storms. but ice forming elongated frozen crystal teardrops on ivy? that’s another thing.
the howe caverns guide was a handsome young guy. susan and i were mid-teens and, thus, instantly in love with his chiseled face as he led us through the stalactites and stalagmites of the caves. fred prendergast was his name. now – ask me what we did last weekend and i may not remember. but fred? yup. how on earth does that work?
i hadn’t seen these beautiful tiny icicles before. they were a product of the neighbor’s garage eaves overflow dripping onto the ivy on top of the fence during a period of time that the temperature dipped below freezing. clearly, a number of things had to align in order for us to see this chandelier of baby icicles.
they didn’t last and, very soon, they were gone. but in the meantime, i captured many photos of them teetering between existence and not-there. looking closely, you can see the layers – one drop of water freezing at a time – vertical layers upon layers. like snowflakes piled inside long lucite columns, each one different, suspended from fragile ivy branches. they were fascinating and prompted me to research icicles just a bit more.
when we left howe caverns, we were – ok, i was – convinced that fred would be my future…that somehow this summertime-employed-cave-guide would search the world – or at least the state of new york – and i would one day be mrs. prendergast. we would give cave tours together and study stalagmites and stalactites. our children would be the children of two studied scientists and our home in upstate new york would be a place of knowledge-seeking.
fred never found me. somehow – in the way of the teenage crush – i was able to process that he never looked.
but his lessons about the stal-ites stayed with me. and i couldn’t help but remember when i stood in front of these tiny icicles on display.
i wonder what fred and the missus (or the mister) are doing.
read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY
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