Nature’s Art in Ice
Up-stream from where I found the ice tubes or chutes from those earlier posts, there was another ice spectacular that I couldn’t resist. It was the perfect cross between the chute and the over-turned punch bowl in a stream, house-like, almost…or maybe not…but wonderful, still.
There’s something crazy or magical or even mysterious about this…like looking at the growth rings of a tree without having to cut it open to see them….
The Ice Tube Revisited
Just over two weeks ago, I found an ice tube in the stream in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Maybe it should be called a “chute” instead of a tube…because it performs the function of a chute…with water passing through it from one level down to another. At any rate, one tube was complete and it appeared as if another tube was forming to the left of the completed one. I took a few photos of the tube/chute to preserve it and hoped to return to take more pictures to see how it might have changed over time. Please press the highlighted number for December 17, 2011 on the calendar to the right to see the earlier post. For some reason, I am unable to create a link in the text at this time.
I thought I remembered the tube on the right as being smaller and less opened at the bottom…or maybe it changed a bit over the weeks. As you will see in the last photos of this series, there is an icy lace or filigree on the right tube that wasn’t there in the earlier photos.
I had to go to the other side of the stream and come in from the right to get these last photos. The two previous shots and the ones from the earlier post were taken from the left side of the stream as you’re looking at the water-fall.
I believe I mentioned in an earlier post how the stream in Little Cottonwood Canyon is greatly diminished during the winter months when the annual snow-melt is finished and when most of the remaining water is diverted into the local cities’ water reservoirs. To take these pictures from the front angle, I was stepping/crouching on rocks that were in the middle of the stream bed. You can tell from the pictures that the stream is not flowing with any significant force or quantity of water. During the rush of the snow-melt months, the stream is usually flowing with several thousands of cubic meters of water per minute…and it would be impossible to capture pictures from the middle of the stream during those times.
When I first saw the ice formation from the side of the stream, it appeared to just be a bunch of ice that had formed near the flow of water. The closer I was able to make it to the actual waterfall, the more I could see that ice had formed in the shape of a tunnel or tube and the water was channeling through it from the rock above and into the little pool beneath…another crazy little marvel of nature…and a beautiful one at that.
It seems that the flow on the left is forming another tube…with the outer edges eventually coming together to completely enclose the water channel…maybe. It would be interesting to return in a few weeks and see if it happened…provided nothing destroys it in the interim.
This last picture is my favorite….
I stood there on the opposite bank and searched for a way across, a way to get to the other side without soaking my feet in the stream, and finding none in my purview, I settled for looking for a way to cross time. I thought that might be easier, somehow.
I found a place where the snow could be cleared from a sizeable rock, one that would support me in my leaning against the bank, one that would hold me, whole, and almost comfortably as I chose to sit there in the freezing air and try to pass through eons of time, years that had passed, a century and more.
I stared into the windows and at the fallen beams, trying to see the rocks all back in their places, the carved and solid arches back over the window frames, glass reflecting the day’s gray light, or even some candles there, on the various sills, or on the mantle over the wood stove that might have been tucked into the far corner of long ago.
I heard notes floating in the icy air, these from a tinny piano that had been brought out from back east in a mule-drawn wagon for someone’s home and later donated to the church, the congregation, to His people, so it might accompany their country and refined voices as they lifted their praise and worship on those mountained Sunday mornings of then and gone.
I heard notes and the scuff of leather work boots on the lumbered floor…and then I heard a car horn honk in the canyon roadway, an engine roar, and a fading note. The cold was reaching into my muscles on the rock by the stream as I closed my eyes again and listened hard to what might have been, to what might still be there in spirit form, to what might still be living there in the rocks and beams from that other time.
The rocky stream wore icicles on her edges and snow on her banks and silver-gray clouds hung low in the air and I thought I smelled wood smoke, that piney richness that even curls in your mind when you smell it again after it has been so long. Women’s voices, high and low, some children at their sides, tiny voices singing, too, as fathers and single men stood at the sides and in the rear of the white granite building with hats in their hands as they growled and hummed the hymns’ refrains and shuffled their boots and scuffed the floor…as the stream still rolls and the water is cold and the trees sway in a growing wind…that carries notes and wood smoke out into the mountains and draws and tucks them away into moments of time that will live again in my imagination and then….
Please follow this link for an update on the history of these ruins in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, USA.