The Icy Kingdom
By Bonnie J. Fladung
“February. Get ink, shed tears.
Write of it, sob your heart out, sing,
While torrential slush that roars
Burns in the blackness of the spring.”
– Boris Pasternak, author Dr. Zhivago
The opulent ice palace in Dr. Zhivago is an unforgettable scene. The glittery icicles dripping off the roof. Inside – the chandelier, piano, furniture – all transformed into an ethereal dream. To create the scene, the production designers used hot white beeswax and buckets of icy water, and coated it all with chipped marble. It looked so real on screen. A beautiful fantasy land of sparkling ice and ghostly shadows.
But here in Eastman, we have our own natural wonders. We do not need special effects. Just take a hike or drive out to the Ice Cascades, located off White Tail Ridge. Here, you can see the icy waterfall created by the near vertical drop of a stream across the giant boulders. The colors of the ice in the sunlight
reflect the different minerals deposited by the frozen
water over the cliffs. The sign says “Eureka! You made it!” And it would be quite a feat to cross-country ski to this location from The Center on the Deer Path trail, rated “most difficult” by our Eastman X-C staff. If only there were snow.
Even the most mundane can be quite beautiful. Like the frozen torrent from a storm drain. Which makes you wonder: If moving water does not freeze, then how does this appear to have been frozen instantly, in a flash?
Our little icy kingdom is home to more amazing sights. Like this man-made wall of ice 25 feet high. Melting, freezing, re-melting, re-freezing, creating the mysterious Madonna and Child sculpture arising off the supporting tree.
Unseasonable temperatures and lack of snow may have thwarted the usual winter pastimes here at Eastman. But the mild weather has created rare opportunities for hidden beauty all around us. Visible if you just take the time to look. Hot beeswax and magic fairy marble dust not required.