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#TheSoapbox: Icicles, a winter drive and the magic of simple things

A winter drive inspires Sudbury writer Tara-Lee Lecours to ponder the beauty of icicles and the reminder of the sometimes wonderful naivete of youth
USED 2019-01-17goodmorning 5 Icicles. Photo by Brenda Turl for BayToday.
(Photo by Brenda Turl for BayToday)

Driving along Highway 17 (one of the days between Christmas and New Year’s), the holiday music discarded as quickly as the wrapping and empty boxes, I found myself already mourning the passing of what had been brought to life during the festive season, the uncertainty of the year to come not doing much to ease my dismay. 

As I made my way through the same stretch, between the mountains of rock that I pass several times a week, something different caught my attention. About half way from the top of one of the mountains, hung the most beautiful icicles; long, thick layers of shimmering shards, cascading to the ground like the beard of a wise wizard. 

I just had to pull over. Getting out of my car, I stood, marvelling at the magnificence of the glass sculpture, this amazing creation formed by nature, its patterns of frozen water, and the strength and power held within.

Back in my vehicle, I took one last look. It was at this moment that I saw the distinction in the rock above the icicles, how it’s particular grooves and cuts made it look like a set of eyes and a strong nose, like some kind of wizard. As I headed home, I noticed, for the first time, the individual character of these giants, like a series of stone faces. 

When I arrived home, the first thing I saw was the string of icicles lining my roof. Still under the spell of the icy wizard, I looked upon them in wonder, instead of with the dread my neighbour’s prior warning that “icicles can be symptoms of a bigger problem, poor insulation, loss of heat,” he’d said pointing to the “bald” patches on my roof. 

Reaching up, I gently broke one off and held it up. I remembered a time when finding a single icicle was a gift; how at home or at school, they could transform us into so many things. We could be magicians making things appear or vanish, knights yielding singing swords, fairy princesses turning frogs into princes, or witches casting silly spells. 

As children, we found magic in simple things. We daydreamed in school yards and backyards, looking up at the clouds, using our imaginations to find the things we chose to believe in. 

Just like the clouds disappeared, the icicles melted, our innocence drifting as we became adults. Eventually, the cold beard that masks the wizard’s expression will, too, be gone. Still, it is nice to have found him, to experience moments like I did when I was a child, before I knew the reality of politics, pollution, and pandemics.

Tara-Lee Lecours lives in Greater Sudbury.