Sunday, January 4, 2009

Birds on Ice

American Lotus summer bloom,
Cowan Lake

Days that warm to the forties and nights that dip to the twenties have left a thin layer of ice on the surface of Cowan Lake. The magnificent Lotus that reached and swayed above our heads last summer as we drifted past in our canoe, covering the water from shore to shore in this sheltered cove with broad, green rounds, now stand as brown stubble, fallen. Their recognizable faces peering at us through the sheerest of layers.

American Lotus leaf beneath ice

A large flock of small brown birds lands and wanders through the wasted brown tops which pierce the icy surface. With fine bills and buff-colored breasts, heavily streaked, they step and bob-- searching between the stems.
And skate easily along.
American Pipits, hidden well in this quiet, brown edge.

Where small boats dotted the open water with cheerful sails outstretched under the warm breezes of summer, a ring of gulls now stands—the ice extending from the edge, creating a new shoreline from which to watch and wait.

Sailboats on Cowan Lake,
summer 2008

Even the herons, with their long and lanky forms, stand easily upon it, snatching fish that carelessly slip out from under its protection.

In the chill of winter--
the waters, still,
the birds, busy.

Great Blue Heron fishing from ice,
Cowan Lake, January 2009

First Ice,
winter 2009

American Lotus blossom,
Nelumbo lutea

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Cynthia said...

I'm enthralled by the Lotus photos and would enjoy the canoe trip too...but the must have been cold!

Deborah Godin said...

In a blog that is always full of beautiful images and wonderful writing, this post really made me exhale in amazement. The way you approached the subject, moving back and forth between the seasons, recollecting, to that stunning photo of the lotus beneath the ice... And finally that lovely blossom with the entire universe within. A complete pleasure!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The Lotus is so beautiful.Memories of warmer days come back with these pictures.

jozien said...

Your blog really gives me a feeling, of Awe i experience in nature itself.
There's a longing, but als the longing to be like you; if only i could create a blog like that.
Thanks Nina

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Thank you for another wonder-filled post.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Those beautiful summer photos kind of makes one feel warm just looking at them.

T.R. said...

Beautiful post - and it seems great minds think alike! Funny, when I shot my "sunset on ice" pic I thought exactly of you and that you would have stopped to remark how the thin cracks of ice capture color and light. I guess I was right! The lotus images are spectacular and the last one looks like an underwater home to sea anemones.

Beverly said...

Nina, as usual; beautiful photos and pros…I don’t know which is better (and why choose…I’ll just enjoy!)

I have a question…do the lotus ever choke the lake? I remember once watching someone actually SPRAY an herbicide over the water in some attempt to kill vegetation that was interfering with the fishing. It made me both mad and so sad…I can’t imagine what it does to the water quality (and hence everything in and around it)! Anyway, the lotuses are beautiful, I just wonder if they cause problems growing shore to shore and if anyone takes it upon themselves to do something about it. Curiosity killed the cat, I know…but I can’t help it. Someday I’d like to hear a win-win story about living naturally. Of course, your blog does a great job in that regard.

Happy New Year, Nina…to you and yours!


Cathy said...

Nina, Nina, Nina . . . .

I just had the most interesting sensation.

Having scrolled through your posts - past the captions that are always poetically spot-on -

drifting among the beauty . . .

I felt this pride swelling in my breast . .

(gawd, that sounds archaic:0)

Yep. Real banner-waving chauvinism.

Your blog makes me proud to be an Ohioan.

You find poetry in places that most of us don't even see.

I'll be back for more.

nina said...

Beverly--I have much the same question/concern!
Yes, the lotuses are beautiful, but I've heard they spread rapidly. In this location, the water is slow and shallow--so having a clog, only magnifies the already slower pace of the back waters. And creates a neat, quiet area, accessible to only canoes and kayaks. Perhaps desirable, when so much of these large state park lakes become dominated by the waterski crowd and last loud motors.
I would imagine they do not want them moving out of the cove into open water..but I wonder if depth may control that?

Cathy, Cathy, Cathy!
Welcome, dear friend, and fellow-Ohioan!
I do my best to find it--some times seeming to succeed more easily than at others. But, I find something very settling (?), for lack of better word, about the quiet of winter. More introspective, I'm not as easily distracted by the buzz of to concentrate and wonder. It's the wondering that yields such profit. Without the glitter to disguise it.
Ohio CAN be that place.

nina said...

Jozien--your world in the wild places is very lovely, also. And your blog captures it well. I appreciate your compliments so much--I'm glad to be able to share with you!

scienceguy288 said...

Looks a little thin for ice skating, but the birds don't appear to hanve any trouble.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I love this--it's so easy to forget the incredible lushness, abundance and "buzz" of summer. Seeing the lotus leaf crumpled beneath the ice is such a perfect image, after the breathtaking shots of the burgeoning leaves and flowers. I, too, welcome winter, the nasty days when it's all right to huddle inside, writing.
I also loved the Beaver Creek contrast post!

nina said...

Julie--I can imagine you huddling inside today, as I am, too. These gray winters give great days for thought, if not walks outside.
And as much as I become wistful looking back at what had been so lovely 6 months ago, I am reminded that yet, in another 6 months it will return. The promise of a circle.

Remembering the Fen!

Grace and Bradley said...

Your writing and photos are always so nice and beautiful. We went out last August to photograph Lotus in Taiwan. The temperature was 35 degree centigrade. Ours must be different species from yours. You can see our photos at

Mary said...

Beautiful. I'll embrace winter for another month...