Different Seasons

The upper river has been frozen since mid-December. Sometimes the ice creeps back from the edge of the dam. Sometimes the ice hangs over the edge of the dam. Scott and I contemplated walking across the river, but couldn’t quite work up the nerve. Something about river ice seems inherently less trustworthy than, say, lake ice.

This is what the river has looked like for most of the past three months:


Yup. That was pretty much it, up until this past Friday. The warm weather has been melting the ice at an extraordinary rate. This is what the dam looked like yesterday at around 6:00 pm:


About eight inches of water going over the dam. The ice was still touching the shore up by the 6th Street Bridge. Fishermen were braving the still frigid water and dodging the occasional chunks of ice.

At about 1:00 pm today the weight of the backed-up ice pushed a couple of trees over the dam, which had been hung up at the top for a couple of years. Scott and I had been saying for a long time “Wouldn’t it be cool…” and we finally got to see it. As he said, we deserved to see it.

At 5:30 pm today, this is what the dam looked like:


When the ice and the trees gave way there was a mad scramble as the fishermen sought shelter in the rocks and shallows.

By tomorrow morning the rest of the ice will probably have let go for the year and the river will be running high, and the fishermen will be pulling salmon out by the barrel-full.

Happy birthday, Virginia.

Happy St. Patrick’s day.