February is the shortest winter month but always brings the possibility of ice storms. Unwelcome and dangerous, ice storms often result in power outages, broken tree branches, and numerous car accidents. News broadcasts showed the unbelievable destruction on an icy highway in Texas, which resulted in more than 130 cars, trucks, and tractor trailers piled up with multiple injuries and fatalities.
Icy roads are difficult to drive on and almost impossible to stop on. Drivers helplessly glide through stop signs and spin around, sliding side to side across three-lanes of traffic. Scary!
The day after an ice storm, you can find beauty in the glittering world outside the window. Tree branches and power lines are weighed down, encased in a glassy covering of ice. The ice crystals look pretty glinting in the sun’s rays the next morning. Long icicles hanging off the roof gutters look enchanting, like decorations on a real-life gingerbread house.
But ice can have positive associations, too. I’ve never been ice fishing, but I’ve read about fishing enthusiasts hunkered down in little wooden shacks over a hole in the ice. There are lots of frozen lakes and reservoirs in Northern Westchester where ice fishing is allowed under optimal ice thickness and cold weather conditions.
Years ago, I read about the ice hotel in Quebec, Canada. Opened in the winter of 2001, the Hotel de Glace offers luxurious accommodations each winter. Guests can stay overnight in a frozen room sleeping on a bed made out of ice and covered with a warm fur blanket. The resort changes the design of the ice structure each year to delight guests with its snow arches and ice sculptures.
never traveled to Iceland, but I’ve watched travel documentaries which presented images of the beautiful glaciers, waterfalls and thermal pools in this winter wonderland. Alaska, Greenland, the Arctic Circle regions of Sweden, Finland and Norway, as well as Antarctica draw hardy travelers to experience hiking, skiing, dog sledding and photography in the stunning natural landscapes made of ice.
A man in Cranford, New Jersey, uses the snow in his front yard to create impressive frozen sculptures each winter. For the last 18 years, Robert Schott has channeled his creativity into snow sculpting during the cold winter months. This year’s labor of love is a 14-foot-tall replica of the Lincoln Memorial statue. Neighbors are amazed at the detail in this snow sculpture of Abraham Lincoln sitting in his chair.
Hours and hours of preparation go into each snow sculpture from initial design to packing on the snow and carving out the shapes and details. A steady stream of local residents and passersby in cars stop to snap photographs of these unique frozen works of art. Previous winter snow sculptures have included the character of Olaf from the Frozen movie and a sculpture of the popular cartoon character, Snoopy, resting atop his doghouse.
American slang terminology has included references to “ice” when talking about diamonds or drugs. Gangster movies referred to getting rid of someone by putting him on ice. Remember Vanilla Ice’s pop music hit, “Ice, Ice Baby?”
In eighth grade, I recall riding my bicycle a few miles away to 7-Eleven with my brother and our neighborhood friends to buy Slurpees. That first sip through a straw resulted in an immediate pain in the center of my forehead—brain freeze. That icy cold beverage was quite refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. The crushed ice lasted the entire bike ride home.
Kim Kovach is looking forward to warmer weather in March! Write with Kim in Spring sessions of her fiction and narrative nonfiction classes via Zoom. kimkovachwrites.com