These appear during the thaw after a winter storm. All of the snow compressed by footsteps and snowplows turns to ice, which remains even after all of the snow has melted. They are curious, random shapes, and often appear quite organic because they are melting. They can be unexpectedly and breathtakingly beautiful, an example of mono no aware unfolding before your eyes.

Late one night in January, leaving my school's engineering building, a friend and myself saw a scattering of black boulders which must have been made by plows. Their shadows cast long and stark by the streetlight above; black splotches on the brown grass. They were like igneous rocks scattered by a volcano, with rough, pitted surfaces and improbable indentions. Their presence on the lawn at the university was decidedly alien, and striking.

There is a sidewalk on the way home that I walk every day, which has a six meter high stone wall on its South side. Sun only hits the concrete for a couple of hours every day, and there is always ice there for days after the rest is gone. As people walk on the sidewalk, ice is packed in certain places, with craters and valleys left where unpacked snow melts. In the shadow of the wall during daylight, the dirty ice is lighter gray upon the grey of the sidewalk, and resembles an organic, high albedo moonscape. When looked down upon from the top of the wall (I climbed it because I had to know), the illusion is complete, like looking through a high definition telescope at a luna that never was.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.