…Upper Peninsula flowing rivers until spring.
Imagine yourself walking along this Upper Peninsula river last week. Imagine the river turning to ice. Imagine whispering “goodbye” to the flowing Silver River between L’Anse and Skanee.
Imagine publishing three days worth of freezing river photos. Imagine wondering if the readers are bored stiff with freezing river images. Imagine having to publish them anyway. Because the river insists.
Imagine the photographer attempting to take these river photos. Imagine how she felt weak and tired (mostly because she had just learned she had to have gall bladder surgery.)
Imagine how she sighed when she looked up at the river hills which must be climbed. Imagine how she muttered to herself. Imagine how the river really didn’t care. It had hired its photographer for the moment and her health was secondary to the beautiful shifts of ice and snow and flowing water.
Imagine how you will feel tomorrow–or the next day–when the freezing river series has ended.
Imagine how we Yoopers will feel for the next five or six months as the river remains solid, unchanging, covered with white snow. Imagine how the underwater fish feel. Imagine how the snowmobilers will feel as they roar along the frozen surface. Imagine the cross-country skier. Imagine the coyote, the wolf. Imagine how all of us will think of this frozen snowy river for the next half year.
When you’ve imagined that: you will know why these photos capture something precious. How they capture change before it seemingly ends for a while.
Yesterday–when we bought our Christmas tree in town–the last of seventeen Christmas trees available, mind you–I glanced at the river as we sped by. Only a lone strip of water remained in the middle.
It’s almost frozen solid.
In the middle of winter you might not even suspect that a river is a river. You might think it is a brief clearing in the trees. But a wise outdoorsman or woman would notice how the clearing follows a winding pattern into the distance. A wise person would tread carefully. Especially as spring arrives.
I discovered a United States Geological Survey worker measuring the Silver River as I prepared to leave. His colorful jacket shocked the black-and-white scene wide awake.
All shyness deserted this shy photographer as I approached him.
“May I take your picture?”
He looked a little startled, but agreed.
He gave me his card. Which the shy photographer promptly misplaced. He’s based down in Escanaba and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has hired his company to do baseline studies of the river.
He told me all about the river’s conductivity. I pretended to know what conductivity might mean. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about hydraulic conductivity. I’m sure that’s what he meant.
I truly wish I could find his card. It listed the website which we could click to learn all about the most current findings. (If it’s discovered later I will place the link here.)
Imagine that this is the last of the Upper Peninsula freezing water photos you will see for many months. If you see any photos in the spring, they will be thawing photos.
Thank you for your attention to the Upper Peninsula Rivers. They thank you, just before they stop babbling just in time for Winter Solstice.