Last week, Lake Mendota started weeping outside my window. Over the span of two days, Madison jumped from around 0° to almost 60°. I imagine Mendota is mourning the early loss of her closeness to those inhabiting her shore.
Since moving here in February, Lake Mendota unexpectedly proved to be the greatest source for winter exploration. During the summer, she shows off her clear water, inviting boats, swimmers and fisher folk – leaving most to an observer status. But as Winter hardens her surface, she becomes a vast, white, inviting beauty for all to enjoy. To steal a lyric from Another New World:
And the sea turned the color of sky turned the color
Of sea turned the color of ice
‘Til at last all around us was fastness
One vast glassy desert of arsenic white
It is impossible to feel trapped by winter when you see (at times) hundreds of people enjoying it. Mendota attracts ice fishers, xc skiers, snowshoers, dog walkers, snowmobilers, wind skiers, snowmen, snowforts and people like me who simply want walk to the middle and sit. The view, normally reserved for boaters, is spectacular. Maple bluff standing up in the east, picnic point jutting out from the west, and the capitol building splitting the sky from the south.
The warm weather currently hitting us is curing all that’s been ailin’ me this winter, and I am eagerly awaiting a full thaw. As Mendota’s surface continues cracking, flexing and showing more deep blues each day, I will secretly look forward to next winter when I can again lay down in the muted snow, breathe the cold, crisp air and take in the vast glassy desert of arsenic white.