March 04, 2015

Life's A (Thawing) Beach

IMG_8008.JPG – April 23, 2010 – 8:28 PM

It was late April – a generously early spring – when we took off for Grand Beach on a Friday evening after a trying work-week. Typically at this time of year the lake is a perfect remedy, a cacophony of heaving ice floes and tinkling shards of chandelier ice closer to shore – but this was a fine exception. The lake was open. A warm breeze was only faintly weakened by drifts of snow permeating the dunes. We combed the beach for any intriguing winter detritus and dared our toes into the frigid water.

I love Grand Beach, but I've never visited during the manic height of summer. Its network of trails are among the province's best, and most challenging, for cross-country skiing. The far end of the beach and lagoon are magnificent for spring and fall birdwatching; I've seen ospreys dive, rare turnstones patter the sand and western grebes dance on the lake. What I love most in this place is witnessing the rotting ice shatter and dissipate, caving under the first balmy span of spring. It's something in nature that everyone in these parts should see; my introduction to the spectacle was during the 1980s with my family, stretching winter-whitened legs and running across the mucky expanse of ice, snow and sand. In the year of this photo our trip was mis-timed, with only a patchwork of ice barely visible on the horizon. It made no matter.

I was only two months into a year-long daily photo challenge, and three days previous to this getaway my camera was stolen. My faith in humanity was dimmed, but a friend loaned me his camera until I could file an insurance claim and get back on my photog feet. The challenge remained intact and unbroken. This was one of the shots from the loaner.

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