Snow has at last returned to Nahant Marsh, with a blizzard that blew through just ahead of the winter solstice. The storm brought rain before switching abruptly to snow, and the snow filled wind blew hard and cold. And so, as winter begins, it is very much a wintry landscape at the marsh. The water has in large part frozen. The fringe of ice that clung to the edges and shaded places has sprinted across the surface of the water, claiming it. It is thin, and not at all even. The variety of ice-types is quite astonishing, from absolutely clear to opaque milk white, from silk smooth to pebbly to jagged.
Not all of the water is frozen, places are out there where wind, water and animal movement has held back the freezing. The edge of freeze and thaw is mercurial. This edge is ever changing, often beautiful and delicate, and faithfully reflecting the glints and color of whatever light is available .
The marsh is full of edges where water and ice meet. There are many edges—where snow and ice meet, where recently frozen meets thoroughly frozen water, where exhaled air is trapped in round shapes under the surface ice, where halos of frost light up in burning edges of light outlining the skeletal vegetation.
The brief light and cold days of winter have their own unique beauty. It’s been a long time since there’s been snow and ice at Nahant Marsh. There is something sculptural about the freezing of the water—in large icescapes and in tiny crystals. There is something almost “magical wonderland” when snow covers and coats the world.
Dress warm and go out and play. It’s hard to say how long the snow will last, but even when it does last it never stays the same for long.