Singing Ice is Thoreau’s Winter Wonder

A thin coat of ice covered a part of the [Walden] pond but melted around the edge of the shore. I threw a stone upon the ice which responded with a shrill sound, and falling again and again, repeating the note with pleasing modulation. I thought at first it was the ‘peep’ ‘peep’ of a bird I had scared. I was so taken with the music that I threw down my stick and spent twenty minutes in throwing stones single or in handfuls on this crystal drum. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal 1936 Nothing is as eerie and beautiful as the sound of ice, with its range of tones so like the haunting melodies of migrating whales. Emerson discovered he could make the ice sing and tested the range of Walden Pond’s voice that winter afternoon. This is one of the hidden beauties of the winter we miss when we hide indoors where it is war or fly past the landscape in heated cars. Yet when we hike in the country during this quiet season, we discover much more than the view, for it is the greatest therapy for aging. The body loosens up with every step and the mind is awakened with sounds of breaking surf, crunching leaves, the rustle of tall grasses, and the singing of ice.