|Kearsley Creek meandering through the Village of Ortonville. Photo by Jonathan Schechter|
The great freeze is on. From the edges of our Great Lakes to the beautiful wooded banks of 'my' meandering Kearsley Creek, water is on its slow and unsteady transfomation to ice. And if you are not careful it can kill you. Pay no attention to the old sayings on how many inches of ice you need to be safe. Ice does not freeze evenly and in much of Oakland County streams have thin ice covered with blankets of snow. Lakes and ponds are fed by springs and sun and surface melt can cause illusions of thick ice after a night's freeze. If you want to be safe- stay off the ice. I am all for taking the youngest of children out into woods in the early days of winter. Everyone did that before we became wired to hand held devices.
But the obvious is needed too. Teach them a touch of fear. Fear based on reality and science.
Every year we hear tragic stories of toddlers that wandered off to the frozen pond. And drown. And it's not just preschoolers that don't comprehend the danger. Before the winter is over we will learn of a snowmobile operator - fueled with alcohol in many cases ("Alcohol may have been a contributing factor") that took the great final plunge into the deep, often on midnight runs over not frozen lakes. Nature does not give second chances when it comes to ice. Enough said.