As winters go, this was a winter. To call it a winter of discontent does not quite fully describe its malevolence. I suppose also that it is an act of optimism on my part to shuttle it off into the past tense, because while it was a winter, as of the first days of March with the single digit temperatures and feet of snow, winter still ‘is’ and its continued existence is an affliction to my own. Enough already, somebody put a stake in this bastard.
If you live outside of upstate NY and care to visit Prejean Winery in winter, you might hold the notion that to travel here, you first head north on Route 87 or 81 and just north of Scranton or Kingston, you reach that foreboding X on the map. That demarcation is the point beyond which, you assume is best described as “BEYOND THE WALL” where White Walkers and Wildings prowl. Well we certainly have our share of prowling, Wilding-esque types and plenty of pale, blue eyed ones, (melanin can be hard to come by in these parts) but it may surprise you to know that on more than one occasion this winter, I witnessed a rare occurrence, I looked upon Seneca Lake and discovered ice.
I have seen the north end of Seneca, near Geneva, partly freeze though only rarely and maybe once a winter, but this winter the lake battled mightily against the ice. Islands of ice would form, the channels and rivulets would grow narrower and as the day warmed these ice flows would dissolve back into formlessness, consumed in a cobalt blue cauldron. On one occasion this winter, ice formed from the Dresden shore east to the navy barge. That is a first for me. As much as things felt like we had gone “north of the wall” this winter though, things could have been worse, if not for the lakes.
There were mornings though, anxiety filled mornings for a grape grower, when Seneca was hidden beneath an impenetrable mist. From the distance, what looked like phantoms and wraiths glided through the vapor, barely recognizable until a flutter of wings or a splash revealed them. As foreboding and eerie as this sounds, that mist, that vapor is really a warm, protective breath, exhaled from the depths and one reason why these vineyards are here. Relative to the surrounding air, Seneca Lake is a four trillion gallon heat sink. But as much protection as Seneca gave, the winter still packed a punch.
A Blue Cauldron