Appreciating icicle individualism

February 12, 2008 12:00 am

To the editor:

Icicles ... you may look at them and exclaim about their length, but have you truly observed them closely?

Today, as I sat peering out the window at Nature's handiwork, I became aware that icicles have characteristics resembling people!

Icicles have no assembly line duplicates. Like people, each is an individual. Some are tall, some short, some thin, and some have developed a certain thickness around the middle. Some have postures as straight and smooth as my neighbor's ski pole. Others are bent with arthritic knobs from sun exposure; brief melting; then re-freezing temperatures.

It occurred to me that icicles can be sneaky. When snow curls over the edge of the roof and refuses to slide off, icicles find perfect places to grab a toe hold. Then, they become rigid stalactites eagerly reaching down to meet the ground below. I noted rain gutters attract ice in an identical manner.

If left to their own devices, icicles seek company. One becomes two, two becomes three, and eventually a population explosion appears! During Baker County winters, no roofline seems exempt from these icicle families. Their drip, drip, drip in Morse-code rhythm on warm days spells out a message that taunts Spring to appear. And let's not forget the insult of being called a "Big Drip."

If human impatience prevails, those icicles can be dislodged by a firm swipe from a shovel handle. However, that may be only a temporary remedy, because an inconsiderate groundhog visited our area. He carried a six-week timetable that most certainly will involve additional icicles!

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City