As we walked over the frozen lake, our steps making a special sound that prompted my friend to share with a smile: “This is the sound of my childhood.” And snow does have different sounds as you walk upon it. In the three days I was in Bad Saarow-Pieskow I could tell the difference. In Berlin, I dislike walk ing on snow in Berlin, in places, with the grittiness of the city, it squeaks beneath your step. In BS-P I discovered three unique ones I found pleasant.
After snow had fallen the day before and frozen overnight, as I walked I heard and felt a solid crunch then grind, nearly a growl underfoot. By evening, upon untouched snow far in the middle of the lake, there was only a pop when breaking the surface, and it was so powdery, soft beneath it was silent. Through the forest, with all the fallen, crisp leaves a crackle and crunch was general.
And then, of course, there are the patterns in the snow. I can always tell my own footprints, even after others have passed, as my slightly slew-foot, larger size is distinct. As my friend and I wandered around, stopping to take photos or remark on or meet others enjoying the beauty, we pointed out the differences between the arcs of a person wearing speed skating skates or figure skates. The cross-country ski marks versus other types. The ice also makes sound, by the way. When it shifts, as it naturally does and must, it “sings”, sounding almost like whalesong. You can stand and close your eyes and feel and hear it speak.
We made a couple of general venues onto the frozen lake, before my friend decided she wanted to take me to a certain place for coffee. Ordinarily, because it was on the opposite side of Scharmützelsee from my friend’s home, it would have taken perhaps 30 minutes by car, 45min to an hour by bus with all the stops along the way, to reach Alte Eichen (Old Oak Tree in English) a hotel, restaurant and wellness center. Walking across the lake it took us only fifteen minutes.If you’re interested, at their website they have a live webcam so you can actively see the lake for yourself!
Absolutely beautiful inside, if you care for the traditional look, which was both intimate and first class. We had our coffee, and though she wished to share her slice of tiramisu with me I had to decline as I do not care for sweet foods, even desserts. I enjoyed my large cup of milchkaffee and savored the atmosphere.
Our hostess was a young woman with a Hungarian accent lacing her German, who was amazed we’d actually walked across the lake specifically to come to this place. She had watched us, she said, and that she would have been too afraid to do so herself.
I was never afraid, but certainly had thought “What if the ice breaks with us in the middle?” I wasn’t even afraid when, as we were returning, a loud pop sounded as we passed a large fault which showed a seam of seepage. I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the crack, though I would have liked to!
When it happened, my friend looked at me, eyes wide and she started laughing as we hurried on. I couldn’t stop grinning afterwards, and it was such a exhilarating thrill that physical excitement lingered long afterwards even in the cold temperature. Only around 5am did I wake-up and thought, “Damn, that was close!” though C. assured me, with fifty plus years of experience on the lake, the ice was too thick for us to have broken through. Once in a lifetime!
Please enjoy the photos below of Bad Saarow-Pieskow and Lake Scharmützel. More photos are here.
These are the chunks of ice that have to be cut away from around dock moorings so they won’t be crushed as the ice shifts and contracts.
This photo was actually used to help create the cover image for my latest novel, The Agony of Joy. Please view the result here, it turned out quite okay, I thought.
I have dozens more photos besides these, if you follow me on Facebook at TheRedHairedCrow, the others are posted there.
I will be returning to the lakeside this upcoming week to make more. This time I will not walk as much as I did last time, overdo it and put myself back in bed for a few days, but I will look for some unique shots.
Hope you enjoyed! More photos here.