Some winters Silver Lake opens up during a January thaw and never refreezes. But this winter, the lake has retained much of its ice throughout the winter, barring some very few warmer days. But winter quickly returned and the lake has been solid ice.
In the morning I spotted a lonely swan standing out in the middle of the ice. When my grandgirl came over after school, she and I headed out to see if we could discover what the swan was up to. The sun hung low in the sky. Winter days are still short, but each day brings a little more daylight, and it’s a little longer before nighttime closes in.
All along the edge of the lake we spotted water–despite the cold, the ground is warming up, and the ice in the lake is thinning. We thought we saw two swans, (turns out it was a trick of the light) but despite the chill we kept going alongside the road that follows the edge of the lake.
The water is quite open where the Peters River enters Silver Lake. My guess is that the swans headed upstream, since they were nowhere in sight by late afternoon.
We did, however, take in very cool shadows as the sun set behind the trees on the island. The shadows stretched across the ice, nearly reaching us on the shore.
My grandgirl has always gotten a kick out of our neighbor’s wrecking ball, perched next to the shoreline. When she was younger she always used to stop to give the ball a hug, much to her mother’s dismay, since the black rubber seemed to always rub off on her clothes.
This grandgirl is much bigger now, but upon spotting the rubber ball, she raced over, hugged it, then climbed atop it with great glee. These are moments I feel so very, very lucky to be a grandma. Other times too, but this always makes me smile.
At twenty-eight days, February is the shortest month, but so far this winter it has not delivered the winter misery of some winters. Yes, some rain, yes, some cold, but little of the snow we might hope for to provide a reason to bring out the sleds, skis, and snowshoes.
Even the ice was gone, for which I was grateful. Well, no ice on the walkway. And on the lake, the ice is transitioning. Whether we’ve noticed or not, the season is preparing, once again, to change.
Marjorie Turner Hollman
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.
2 responses to “Searching for Signs of Spring at Silver Lake”
I hiked over to Silver(Hoag) Lake following the old trolley track bed which is Blackmar St. today . North bound , it headed Blackmar to Maple st. and a depot was at “Four Corners” (where Rapid Refill is). You could also catch a train here . Then it went to “Caryville” , and on to Milford .
Southbound , from Blackmar , it crossed Cross St. and headed down the dirt road used by the water dept. , and went under the railroad tracks at the Bellingham Sportsman’s club and crossed Peter’s river (where there’s still a trolley bridge) , and crossed Center St. , and came out at the intersection at Pulaski , and Center Sts. . Then it followed Pulaski , past an old race track to Social St. , where they recently razed the old “Car Barn” , on Diamond Hill and Social . I hope you find this interesting . It’s right in your in your backyard .
I”m familiar with most of this, Jim, and you’re right. Down the trail, by going straight instead of veering to the left on Blackmar, you’ll find remnants of an old trolley bridge over an intermittent stream. Heading south I”m not as familiar with the actual path of the trolley, although I’m aware that the house at the corner of Cross and Blackmar was the trolley station. Thanks for reading and commenting!