I live for the sort of moments you can’t simply ‘order up’: the silver of ice on trees sunlit after a storm; the color of the sky at dusk in December; shadows of fast-moving clouds silently thrashing across a field lit by a full moon on a windy night. I live for these sort of moments–they make life larger: capacious and grand.
Recently, such a moment found me. We had a sudden temperature plummet in Boston last week–it went from a mild mid 30ish degrees to 11 degrees in a matter of hours. The water on Jamaica Pond had not yet frozen over, and the winds were high and brisk. During those hours that the temperatures plunged–while I hunkered down in my city apartment braving the drop with blankets and hot tea–the sort of art that only nature can create was forming on the eastern shore of the pond.
I discovered the finished piece the following afternoon, late in the day, when the sun was almost flush with the horizon, casting a brilliant light at an angle across the sculpture that had formed. It arrested me mid-walk.
During those hours the temperatures dropped, strong winds whipped high waves against the shore, and–wave by wave, moment by moment–ice formed in layers: the waves hit the shore, receded, and the water left behind froze instantly. Everything was altered. Pebbles and stones that had been simply ordinary the day before were now recreated into grand orbs, glimmering within sheets of ice. Mundane, everyday sort of twigs had transformed into multilayered spears, shimmering with an opulence of light. A blade of grass? Now round with ice as smooth as Rodin’s Hand of God. Minor shrubs? Ensconced with the same sensual essence. The shore itself appeared frosted with glass icing–a glossed and flawless surface I wanted to touch.
The work of wind and waves and time and temperature had created such brilliance on that small shore, I couldn’t stop looking. It was cold. It was growing dark. But I stood captivated.
The most beautiful thing about it was: I knew it would not last.