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Magic right here

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It was utterly amazing to watch the ice form on the lake.

I’d never seen it before — it was fascinating.

Now that we’re winterized, we went out to the lake post-Thanksgiving for the first time this past weekend. It was snowing Saturday, but temperatures had been hovering around freezing, not really a deep cold yet.

There were several thin sheets of ice on our bay if the lake, separated by open water. One several football fields in size had formed in the middle of the bay, going almost shoreline to shoreline.

Come Sunday morning, the ice sheets had grown, the main one with a dusting of snow. People have told us that once the ice sets in, it takes only a couple of days to cover the entire lake.

And then up came a wind of 60-70-k/h, coming in from the northwest as it does most of the summer, making whitecaps out on the main body of the lake, and driving pounding waves in to the docks and the beach. Within 15 minutes, all that ice was crashed up on shore, the waves battering it, the entire idyllic bay thundering with crunching ice shards hammered by waves.

You could see the pile of ice undulating as the waves swept into and beneath the ice.

And slowly, it looked as though the ice was growing out from the shore. Imagination, most likely, but as I sat in front of the fire with my Louise Penny novel, having had our lengthy walk in the woods, I began measuring the ice against the main dock.

And it was growing out into the lake, inexorably. By the time the sun went down, the ice had reached the end of the dock, and the undulations underneath the ice were ending further and further from the beach.

When we left Monday morning, the ice was still growing outward, the waves’ undulations less than halfway to shore.

I’m not suggesting you do a science fair project on it, or rush out on a field trip to watch a lake or river freeze over for hours, but, teachers, this was really, really neat, and it’s happening all over Manitoba as it’s happened since the dawn of time, and it’s something I’ve never been privileged to see in the city, just as I’d never seen loons and beavers and bald eagles and the Northern Lights in the city.

And as we drove home, a wolf ran across Highway 44 and into the bush.

Magical.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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