Notes and observations from a photographer and cultural interpreter living on Canada's east coast.
Friday, February 08, 2013
In an Echo of Winter, a Sign of Spring
Spring comes slowly to Newfoundland and Labrador; that's simply a fact of its geography and climate. When it arrives, though, it brings with it a spectacle that most of North America doesn't have the opportunity to witness: the remarkable phenomenon of sea ice. The ice is almost like a living thing. It drifts in on the combined forces of current, tide and wind, transforming the landscape overnight with its strange and varied shapes. It cloaks the ocean in an undulating mat of
white. Drifting along with the ice are the season's first icebergs, frozen giants calved from the glaciers of Greenland, making their way south after having wintered over on their journey. They sail past regally far at sea, or sometimes venture closer and ground themselves in the shallows like the two seen here at Quidi Vidi in the spring of 2012, when a spectacular sunrise complete with a sun pillar formed a dramatic backdrop. Small coastal communities like Twillingate (top) see their harbours
blocked with ice, often delaying the passage of fishing boats; calm, sunny days, though, bring out an array of reflections that transform the harbour into a place of wonder. The ice might stay overnight, for a week, or even for a month or more; it will depart as quickly as it arrived, drifting back to the sea and leaving nothing but a memory of its passing.