steam devils, stubborn devils

When temperatures drop suddenly, especially after being weirdly mild, this thing happens sometimes, over open water. I’ve only seen it once before, a couple years ago. I remember looking it up when I got home and learning that the term is steam devils.

So here I am on an empty beach crouched down on this minus thirty-something day, taking pictures of the steam rising off Lake Ontario…
DSC04981And a guy with a dog comes by.

DSC04986He yells: “Taking pictures of the clouds, eh?”
DSC04989And I say, “Yeah, the steam…”

DSC04990And I think that’s it, the extent of the conversation, because it’s too cold for chat and my head is wrapped in several layers of fleece and so is his and  we’re at a distance from each other and the dog wants to move on.

So I turn back to my crouching and picture-taking.

DSC04991Then he yells again: “It’s not steam, it’s clouds.” And I say, Oh? I thought it was steam from the warmer water meeting with the suddenly frigid air.

“No,” he yells. “Clouds!”

“Right!” I say, and turn back to my crouching.

And he and his dog move on.

DSC05003I don’t for a minute believe he’s right about this being clouds, especially given that the ‘clouds’ are only over the lake, not the land. But there’s something in the way he shouts “Clouds!”,  that tells me he’s not interested in my thoughts.

Evenso, his arrogance and lack of curiosity makes me more curious, makes me want to double-check my own certainty.

When I get home I google it… “mist over winter lake”.

DSC05000And for the briefest moment, I wonder if he does the same.


2 thoughts on “steam devils, stubborn devils

  1. Great pictures! I noticed the same/similar phenomenon over the St. Lawrence yesterday–steam rising off the water in the frigid air. And um, no clouds nor stubborn devils to cast doubt.

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