Ice Mud


This is the time of year that a unique phenomenon happens. I’m sure it has a scientific name, but I haven’t looked it up yet. I call it ice mud, and find it rather fascinating. It happens in the spring when a day is warm enough to thaw the ground surface, leaving nice wet gooey mud, then overnight if freezes hard. The ice forms upwards into groups of crystal towers crowded together in a mound, usually an inch or so tall. These towers grow out of the mud carrying leaves, sticks, and other debris with it, the mud itself turning the individual towers all sorts of brown mud colors. Out near our spring this ice mud grows startlingly tall, over 5 inches in the middle of the mound. It’s also clearer than most, with white ice in the middle and the red brown mud colors around the periphery. But no matter where the ice mud forms, when I see it, like to examine it from some tiny creatures point of view. I bend over and get a good close look at the individual towers, and the alleys between them. I see the spikes, and divots, the sharp edges, the angle of accent, the otherworldly crystalline structure. I imagine walking through the towers as if I were in a science fiction novel on a strange frozen brownish alien world. It’s Mother Nature’s way of mixing things up and moving things around on a small scale. Ice does some amazing things.


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