Shades of gray have taken over the landscape on Roundtop and on the nearby lakes. Gray is a typical shade of winter here as many days are overcast. The landscape looks monochromatic, almost, and when a bright color is seen, it draws my eye like a magnet.
Where I live, several inches of snow still covers the forest, so it’s a surprise, even a shock, when I leave the mountain in the mornings and find bare ground down in the towns. Rural areas are still snow-covered, though I begin to see a few patches of bare earth here and there.
The ice on Pinchot Lake is still clear, clear as glass, even. If this ice were on a road, it would be “black ice.” Black ice isn’t black, of course, it’s simply perfectly clear so that you see the black asphalt underneath. Ice that is clear is ice that doesn’t have air mixed into it, an indication it formed quickly, whether on a lake like Pinchot or the road’s surface. When ice turns opaque or white, air is mixed in, probably from a series of repeated melts and freezes, and if anything is typical in southern Pennsylvania, it’s the winter cycle of freeze and melt.
I inched onto the clear ice, cautiously, and stayed near the shoreline. The ice held my weight, but I was uncomfortable, more from the oddity of seeing stones a few feet below me than anything. I'm not used to standing on clear lake ice. It's better when I can't see through to the water just below. Dog refused to do more than place one foot on the ice. He didn't like it either. I soon retreated and rejoined him on the solid ground.