A week or more sooner than we have learned to expect it, comes this most welcome gift of late autumn. In the starlit blackness there is no splash of waves, and at first light we can discern no bank of fog lying offshore. Deep cold, nearly thirty below zero, and more of the same in the forecast. Dead calm, and on the weather charts no tight isobars warning of a fresh gale. This will do it.
The bay, an honest seventy miles long and nearly ten across, has once again been transformed by the ever-astounding physics of water and ice. So recently a churning, steaming confusion of sharp-peaked waves and viscous November rollers, it is today one smooth pane of frosted glass. It is a blank white page, upon which now for six or seven months we all – fox, wolverine, sled dog, wolf, snowmobile, ski plane, caribou – will inscribe the story of another winter.
But first things first – bring all the ice skates in from the shed and warm them up by the stove!