Saturday, December 27, 2008

With respects to Manfred Mann . . .

OK. So now I feel pretty old even thinking about Manfred Mann's Earth Band. But I also know how they felt all those years ago, when they wrote their song, "Stranded."

The story I always heard was the song was penned during an unintended, weather-related stay at an Iowa airport. I have no idea if that's true or not. But I feel for them. At least they weren't stuck in a motel with the child of a guest in the room above running laps. Seriously.

The image above was just a small portion of my truck this morning, Dec. 27, when I went out to see if it would start and get me on the road for my trip back south. Obviously, that trip was aborted when, as the truck was warming up, I went back into the motel to check weather and road conditions on the Internet.

Not only were the roads in central Iowa crappy, it looked like it was just going to get worse the further south I went, as I'd basically be driving into the storm. Heck with that, I thought. My family is close by, I'm in a warm motel, I've got television with HBO and, obviously, internet. Why push my luck.

So, I go back outside and sit in my truck, watching the ice make interesting patterns on the windows as the rising heat from the defroster makes a little headway, helped along with a can of deicing fluid. (Which, by an ironic twist of fate, I had to chip out of the ice in the back of the truck. Life's funny, sometimes. Ain't it?)

I decided, hey, I'm sitting here in my truck with a bunch of interesting stuff going on on the windows around me and a camera sitting by my side. Maybe I should make a few pictures. I've always been fascinated by the shapes ice can get in to, depending on the weather conditions in which it forms.

I've seen lake surfaces that look like the waves literally froze in the space of a fraction of a second and I've seen lakes covered by ice so clear you can almost imagine you can see the fish swimming slowly by below. I enjoyed the distorted view through the thin coating of ice on the drivers side window in the second image above, after the combined effects of hot air and deicer. I was able to roll the drivers side window down and shoot directly through the ice with a very narrow aperture to make the neighboring truck of another traveler a blob of color and form.

I guess it's just a matter of making the best of what life gives you, taking a look at the world around you and making sure to keep eyes open for the beauty that lies around every corner.

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