Drop by Drop (ms)

I didn’t notice it for the first few minutes I was awake. You know how that is; all the cylinders aren’t firing cause the old engine hasn’t been properly fueled yet. Heck, it hasn’t even been primed. I was in the process of pouring water to make coffee when I glanced out the window over the sink and there it was: an icicle.

As a rule icicles tend to develop in predictable places. They form up at the ends of gutters, do quite nicely where the valleys of the roof allows melting water to run over the edge but seldom do they grow where this one had taken root. It was right in the middle of the roof, no valleys nor end caps within fifty feet on either side. This icicle for some reason found a spot to grow where there should have been nothing to find.

I made my coffee, had a bite of breakfast and began to go about my chores. There aren’t that many to do in winter so I take my time just moving along slow and steady. Every so often I would make my way through the kitchen and look out the window. There it was, growing and growing by the minute. I couldn’t really tell that for sure, growing by the minute I mean, but it seemed that way.

By the time I broke off from my fevered pace to have some lunch it seemed that the icicle had grown a couple inches and would continue on at a good speed at least until dark. I’ve never done any research on the matter nor had occasion to look but I suppose icicles stop growing after dark, once it gets too cold. I’ll need to get back to you on that.

Anyway, along about two in the afternoon I made my way back to the kitchen for a drink of water and to check on this phenomenon that I was in possession of. It was still going strong. Drip, drip, drip it went and bit by bit it was growing but there was something else I noticed. The sun curves toward the back of the ranch by mid-afternoon and is almost in a direct line with the kitchen window. Well, that icicle just sparkled. The sun shot through it coming out the back then breaking into a hundred, maybe a thousand different colors. It was quite something to see. It was something remarkably pretty laid against a bleak white background colored only by the gray trunks of trees whose limbs had been stripped of leaves long ago. A truly wonderful sight it was.

I looked a bit longer, had another glass of water and moved on to the list of things to do I was working on. There’s always a list and they never seem to get any shorter. Later in the day, almost twilight I think, my wife came home from work, said hello and said she thought she’d go out on the back deck and catch a few of the lingering rays before the sun went down. It wasn’t but five minutes later I heard the crack of falling ice smashing onto the deck and a zillion pieces skittering across the hard wood finally diving through slats in the railing to end up lost in the snow piles beneath.

“What was that?” I asked knowing the answer even as I spoke.

“Oh, nothing. Just knocked an icicle down before it could fall and hurt somebody.”

What could I do? It was gone. I looked out the window this morning though and it’s back. Every once in awhile you get a small favor from an unknown benefactor and life even in the dead of winter is good.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on January 21, 2011.

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