Ice Diskology

The season that’s currently occupying Martha’s Vineyard is winter, so From the Seasonally Occupied Territories is going to blog about that. With pictures.

Raw material

Raw material

Last winter I had an epiphany. No, it was not news to me that water freezes when the temperature goes below freezing (32 F, 0 C). Nor was it news that the water in Travvy’s outside water dish froze. Hadn’t I broken the ice often enough, with fist or foot, or dropped the dish from shoulder height to smash the ice? (Once upon a time I did this to an outside water dish forgetting that it was pottery, not plastic or stainless steel. The ice smashed but so did the dish.)

Thick and thin

Thick and thin

The epiphany was that ice removed from the dish could stand up on its own. Depending on the temperature and how long the water had been quietly freezing, some ice disks were thicker than others. Depending on the sun’s angle, or whether the sun was out at all, the disks might glow with light or look cold and forbidding.

Disk with corona

Disk with corona

Actually the biggest epiphany of all was that when I posted photos of “dog dish ice art” on Facebook, my friends liked them. As with dogs, so with humans: behavior that’s reinforced tends to continue. You can blame my friends — or yourself if you are one of them — for everything that comes next.

Disk overboard

Disk overboard

One day without thinking I flung a disk off the deck. It was a cold morning with rising temps predicted; I knew it wouldn’t last. It didn’t fly like a Frisbee, but it didn’t break either. Of course I had to go get my camera.

The hole near the top was made by Travvy’s nose.

When cold snaps continue, the ice disks multiply. To light and thickness the variable of position is introduced. This is when things start to get fun.

20131212 two w leaf

The leaf was floating in the water. I didn’t put it there, but it did give me ideas. Read on.

20131213 trio & kongTrav’s Kong Wobbler spends most of its time on the deck. It wanted to be in the picture. I’m not one to turn down a little red.

20131213 trio distance

There’s a story here but I’m not sure what it is. Is the disk in the front coming or going? Did Kong suggest that it wasn’t just a third wheel and it should really come back and hang out?

No idea.

Creative wisdom advises that one work with the materials available. What I’ll never run short of is marrow bones that Travvy has chewed clean. At any given time, there are between six and eight of them in the freezer slathered on the inside with peanut butter. That still leaves another six or eight on the apartment floor waiting to be stepped on with bare feet.

When I go out, I leave Travvy on the deck (inside if the weather is foul) with a peanut butter bone and the Kong Wobbler with treats in it. When he rolls Kong around, the treats come out the keyhole-sized opening in its side.

So yesterday afternoon — brainstorm. My attempts at mixing media were twice thwarted by Travvy, who plucked the bone out of the water, but the ice got thicker and I put the inside water dish outside so he’d have something else to drink out of. Voilà!

20131214 solo bone 2Here’s the ice disk quartet.

20131214 bone quartet

Is there a quintet in our future? Likely so. After that who knows. Temps tomorrow are supposed to get into the high 40s. The high 40s are not kind to ice disks, though the thicker ones hang on longer than one might expect.

But it’s only mid-December. The winter solstice is still a week away. Dog dish ice art season has barely begun.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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2 Responses to Ice Diskology

  1. Hal Davis says:

    I am imagining the gallery hangings. Outdoors, maybe.


  2. Nick Mosey says:

    Much more artistic potential than knitting with wool placed inside one’s vagina or making the loss of virginity performance art (real events – don’t want to dignify them by finding links & egotistic exhibitionism is not art in my book). There’s also the sun driven sculpting by dark objects (leaves, twigs) resting on the ice. “Dog dish ice art season has barely begun.” – looking forward to more, to selfishly get the benefits of New England winter without the drawbacks.

    Now back to Paulette’s Aus taxes..


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