My wife and I noticed a strange formation of ice on the shore of the lake near our apartment yesterday. From a distance, it looked like a miniature Fortress of Solitude – that’s Superman’s Arctic man cave for all you philistine’s non-nerds out there. We walked over to get a closer look and discovered something magical.

This: (click to enlarge)

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It’s bizarre and a bit surreal but absolutely mesmerizing. As Brett put it when I shared it with him, “Mesmerizing is right! Looks like you’re in freaking Russia.” It’s so beautifully out of place, especially in Middle Tennessee, that you can’t help but be absorbed and attracted.

I looked up and down the shoreline and this was the only spot where this formation occurred. How did it happen? Why this spot?

An explanation: It’s been ridiculously cold lately (have you noticed?) so the lake froze over a couple of days earlier. It warmed up just enough the previous day for the ice to break up and drift into the shore. This shore, because it was an inlet facing the current. Shards of varying sizes piled up on one another and froze together overnight when the temperature dropped.

But it wasn’t just how it looked that captivated me. It was how it sounded. Those pieces of ice still floating freely were getting knocked about as the water lapped against the newly formed shore of amalgamated ice shards. This created a composition of soft, high pitched chimes that sporadically undulated with the current.

Why am I even bothering to try and articulate this? Words cheapen it.

Good thing I made a video:

You can see now (I hope) why I’m spellbound by this gorgeously haphazard accident of nature. The random events that took place to create this little wonder. That it happened within walking distance from where I live. That I was fortunate enough to see and hear it before it melted.

Life is a lesson in perspective. Even the bitter cold can yield an unexpected miracle.