Ice on the River

By Johna Till Johnson

Ice on the river

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me!

Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

This is quite possibly my favorite poem ever. I once memorized part of it to recite for Vlad’s birthday. It always gives me shivers, in part because Whitman was, literally, talking directly to us, “men and women generations after me”.

But this past February, there weren’t many “crested and scallop-edg’d waves”—only acres of ice floes, bobbing sluggishly in the current. It’s hard to believe that lively, open water will return–but spring is less than a month away!

Ice floes have their own bleak beauty, though, especially during a snowstorm. I recently took a walk along the East River and up alongside the Harlem River. This is what I saw (click any photo to start slideshow):

42 responses to “Ice on the River

  1. I’ve been loving the ice. Nice photo set.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks really cold!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      It wasn’t that cold, actually–not relatively speaking. I think it was in the 20s, and walking briskly, I was too warm for gloves! But yes, if you stand still you can get deep-frozen fairly quickly–one reason God invented cocoa!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brrrrrrrrrrr cold! ;) The pictures remind me of my youth, when I saw ice floes like these on the Rhine in Germany. But no more: the river has become too warm and too salty for ice to form. Well, living in the US now I wouldn’t be able to see them anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      :-) Yes, unless your long-distance vision is spectacularly good, you’re unlikely to see the Rhine from here. But you might want to check on whether it’s iced over in recent years–both Northern Europe and the Northeastern US have gotten some record cold lately, thanks to repeat incursions of the Polar Vortex…..

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      • Well, even with the weather/climate changes, the Rhine has not had ice floes. There are too many power station that take theuir cooling wate from the river and then let the hot water back into it. Plus, especially in France, salt is put into it in large quantities to get rid of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Marvellous images Joanna. I never see snow or ice like that as I live on an island in the S.E. of the UK where the temperature is well-behaved. It can get pretty cold but not enough to freeze water.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s been a rough winter on the East Coast. Here in WI, we have only had to worry about the cold spells, very little snow…although they are predicting a snowstorm for us tomorrow. I hope spring shows up in three weeks for all of us so we can enjoy its warmth.

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  6. beautiful!…but, such a contrast to warmer days… glad YOU braved the cold…to share these wonderful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. They do have their own bleak beauty.

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  8. Not great for paddling!

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  9. Last time I went out, it was clear that ice was coming out of the Harlem and into the Hudson. Nice to see where some of it is coming from. Of course it’s much more now than a month ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been fascinated with the ice this winter, too. Gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the photos and the poetry, Johna. I am always visited by Whitman when I read any little bit of his poetry. His poems are tablets of visitation, calling to us and when he respond he is next to us observing how much the unchangeable has changed. We are leaning on the rails of the earth being carried forward in time and space while at repose. Whitman helps us enjoy the journey. He offers to be our companion, helper and friend.
    From Leaves of Grass:

    “If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
    You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
    But I shall be good help to you nevertheless
    And filter and fiber your blood.
    Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
    Missing me one place search another,
    I stop some where waiting for you”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Woaaah the photos are surreal..it’s like being transported to end of times? or perhaps the start of it?
    Stunning shots! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. way burrrrrrrr!
    thanks for getting out and capturing the coldness.
    as i feel grateful to go out paddling
    in these west coast spring conditions :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Beautiful pictures and wonderful post Johna. As I look at your pictures I realize that I have never really seen ice floes on the East River. I guess I am never in that area during the coldest part of winter. Thank you for sharing Whitman’s poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful photos, but I have to say that to me it looks miserable! I’ll just enjoy your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Miserable weather…but stunning shots. Like a white wonderland where dreams come true :)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I cannot even imagine it like this! I’ve been there only ever in warmer weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So, so, cold looking but also beautiful in a bleak way, as you say. I love the Walt Whitman poem and I think it will now be one of my favourites too. It is very difficult for me to imagine exactly how chilly this weather would feel as I sit here in hot and humid Queensland!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. So. Is spring coming or is this the beginning of the next ice age? Just wondering. Because it looks like Siberia around here.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love the set!! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve seen ice in the river, but never like this! Wow. Where’s the heat wave???

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Stark white visuals of icy winter, thrilling for some time but can be monotonous over the long haul. I wish you a colourful spring, and the joys that come with it, including, probably, another effusive poem of Walt Whitman…best wishes… Raj.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I feel cold just looking at the pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Well we have “Ice on the river.” This really fits the mood here. I moved to Missouri since winters were supposed to be null. Someone played a joke here.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: My Article Read (3-4-2015) | My Daily Musing

  26. Sweet as a Picture

    Incredible to see the ice floating down the river. Umm… No kayaking, then, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Great images and I can’t resist a bit of Whitman – I guess you did more porting than paddling if you went out on that!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Whitman is great! And ice is okay, as long as I’m not walking across it.

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  29. Now two weeks later —- not much different, at least not up here. The snow still falls (harder and harder this afternoon) and the ice still clogs the Connecticut River. Perhaps still the same on the rivers Hudson and East.
    “Drench with your splendor me” — I forgot that about Whitman’s style. Good for you, memorizing like that. It’s a loss that people don’t do that any more. It’s the way you come to own the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. we’ll be needing icebreaker kayaks if next yearcontinues the trend… great seeing u at the wedding! glad i was in BVI for the worst of the cold.

    Liked by 1 person

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