Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Out on the Thin Ice
My parents live on a lake and the water along the shore is only a couple feet deep. During the winter the water level lowers to less than a foot before it freezes. So when we get a few cold days in a row and the lake begins to freeze, this spot next to the shore is about the only safe place to walk out and test the ice, because if you break through you'll only go in up to your ankles. The ice that abuts the shore is the thinnest, so fragile you can throw rocks through it. So you have to take a little hop to reach the ice that's solid enough for walking. Jumping from land to freshly frozen ice is seldom a wise idea, especially when if your feet slide out from underneath you, you're guaranteed to land on ice that's far too thin to support your weight. I watch my nephew do it all the time, and though the ice is still very thin, he hasn't broken through yet, and it's emboldened him to walk out a bit farther. I'm going to try to find a sandbag or huge bag of dog food to throw to him while I'm still on shore and he's on the ice just so he'll catch it and get his boots filled with lake water. I think that's a good lesson.