Last night, I watched as ice spread across the black mirror of the canal. The fractal bloom of crystals seeming to freeze not only water, but light and time. There was an oppressive stillness. With no breeze to move tree, water or boat, the usual interference that scatters light was missing. The sodium white falling from lampposts trapped in a frozen moment. The new lid on the water, glowing with captured brilliance.
Beyond my window, it seemed to be the world of fermata. Everything but the ice was on pause. Only it seemed endowed with the power to move. A leaping contagion, imprisoning all it touched.
The hold was broken this morning as the first chugger strained against the ice. A pre-dawn chorus of shattering water glass accompanied by the rhythmic wallop of a strugling engine. The boat itself giving guttural surprise as its wood rasped against something more solid than the expected water.
Now the day is sinking again. Gangs of small, petulant clouds hang around like teenagers with nowhere to go. The air is thick with wood smoke from a neighbour’s boat. Fairy lights strung on prow-mounted Christmas tree make a motionless gold chain across the canal. Stillness is folding back around me with the coming night.
The constant rush hour procession of headlights spilling from across the road will soon slow. A furious parade winding down to occasional sudden stabbing beams that try to race across the water and tease my windows. Usually the water swallows any light that tries to swim across the pool. Tonight it can bounce high on the ridges of unfurling ice sheets. Even in harsh slap of winter, the beauty of the Three Bridge Kingdom grips my soul tight.