Steve Madewell

Pedestrian Ramblings

A compassionate presence vs. an uncomfortable act! The first time I went to a dermatologist was after I got a little piece of my skin caught in a sweater. Some of us have these wonderful phenomena where we form lovely little things called skin tags. Bout the only redeeming thing I could research and find out about this sort of thing is that some indigenous cultures regard this manifestation as a sign of mystic powers. Whoooooo Cool. I got my mojo working! In my late 30’s I started growing these things and some how managed to get one caught in a sweater as I was pulling the sweater off. So this inspired me to go to this dermatologist who had me pull off my shirt and he looked me over. He turned away from me for a moment only to turn around with a needle in one hand and some scissors in the other. I was expecting him to look at me and then give me a prescription or something to melt my little troubles away. I wasn’t expecting a pair of eyes starring over a surgical mask intent on poking and snipping them away. I wouldn’t say I was severely traumatized but I would put it in the moderate category. It wasn’t all so painful; it was just sort of freaky. I have this strange mental thing I go through when ever I leave a piece of my body behind and I guess I just wasn’t mentally prepared for that. (Especially my mojo and would I loose my mystic powers?) I didn’t go back to a dermatologist for over ten years. When I did it was at the urging of a friend who happens to be a doctor who happens to be married to another doctor who happens to be a dermatologist. Doctor number one made a convincing case that, as much time as I have spent outside I should really give some thought to monitoring the condition of my skin. With my Pop having various skin cancers scrapped cut and snipped off this seemed like a pretty good idea. So he convinced me to go see his wife. I have to say there was no comparison to my first visit to a skin doctor. When I left I looked pretty much like I had been shot in the face with birdshot at about fifty yards. I was peppered with all manner of little red dots where I have been injected and snipped, frozen and zapped and even scalpeled a time or two. That being said however it is appropriate to mention the biggest difference of all. And that was in my attitude. You see my new found friend the dermatologist, approached things with such an overwhelming sense of compassion and reassuring confidence that I didn’t mind at all. There are few times in your life when you really can relax and surrender your self to someone’s care. I try to do that when I am on a guided hunting or fishing outing. I certainly remain aware and focused but I let the guide take me where they want me to be. It is a remarkable lightness to just be. It is really wonderful in today’s world to be able to do that especially in the area of medical care. I have never quite experienced this before where a doctor overcomes a completely uncomfortable situation with reassuring confidence and simple compassion. What is so wonderful about the whole experience is the realization of how deeply committed this exceptional person is to humanity. Today is the third year I have been back and each time I get a little “beat up” but I actually look forward to going, as it is such a pleasure just to be in her presence. Sorry fellows but when we get right down to it, I think she’s my favorite Doctor.
Beetox vs. Botox So last Tuesday when I went down to get the bees at Ken the Bee Mans I got stung twice under my left eye and once on the thumb. By the time I was one the road back home I knew that I was going to puff up a little bit. Getting stung used to not bother me at all but I think after Jim Brock and I moved a hive in the night and got zapped a dozen or more times each it seems that I have on occasion puffed up a little bit. The first time this happened was when Rachel was a little girl and was helping me tend a hive. I had taken things apart and there was a pretty good cloud of bees buzzing and she headed back to the truck. I finished up what I was doing, walked back to the truck and as I pulled off my veil off I realized that one of the more irate bees had followed me. I stared to jump in the blazer and realized that Rachel had locked the doors. While I was negotiating for Rachel to let me in, I got zapped right between the eyes. That was the first time I ever swelled up after a bee sting and the next day I sort of looked like a pig. Anyway, since then I have had the tendency to get a little puffy depending on where the sting was. Since Ken’s bees had drilled me under the eye I suspected that I would probably have a lump by the time I got home. Sure enough after getting home and dumping the girls out in their new hives I could feel a little tightness around my eye and cheek. When I asked MJ how it looked she said that all the wrinkles around my eye was gone and I looked like I had a beetox treatment and suggested that I go out and let them sting my other cheek. That way I wouldn’t look like one of those TV commercials where they treat only one side of the face to demonstrate the effectiveness of the product. Beetox what an idea! This really could be a pretty cool thing if you think about it. Age defying beetox, nature’s organic anti aging treatment. Just a simple injection or two with a tiny hypodermic administered by a completely dedicated professional. My new money making idea fell apart when I woke up the next morning and found I had a lovely purple triangle under my left eye and it looked more like someone socked me. I suppose I will try asking for a little less venom next time.




Looking for a queen bee!

The Gals Are Back! You might recall that last year I got a colony of bees from my friend Ken at Mid Ohio Honey. We met when he and Lori had stopped in at the Old Fire House and spent the rest of the afternoon listening to my play. One thing lead to another and the next thing you know Ken and Lori are dropping off a box full of bees at my house last June. Anyway, the girls seemed to be thriving all summer and fall but last winter was just too much for them and that exceptionally cold spell we had in Febuarary after the exceptionally cold spell we had in January brought about their demise. After pestering Ken for about two months we finally confirmed a date and Last week I drove down to his place near Mansfield to pick up a couple packages of bees. If this sounds a little strange it really isn’t once you get past the notion that you are dealing with several pounds of insects that are capable of stinging you. Bee keeping has a long history and it is yet one of many really remarkable stories of how the relationship between people and animals has evolved. Beekeepers do all kinds of interesting things and I was about to participate in one I hadn’t seen before. My history as a beekeeper has had varied ups and downs but having once tasted the sweet taste of success (yuk yuk) I have found myself from time to time wanting to get back into the hobby. So here I am going off to a bee yard with Ken the real bee man. A bee yard by the way is a place where there are several hives of bees, Kens’ bee yard happens to be surrounded by blue berries. We get to the bee yard aka. Apiary and Ken pulls this giant metal funnel out of his truck. I had asked him if I should take a veil, that is one of those funny net hats that you see bee people wearing in all the photos. Matter of fact in most of the photos you see bee people wearing all sorts of special clothing. They sort of look like HAZMAT crews with white coveralls, gloves and the funny hats. And there is good reason for this. A colony may have 100,000 bees. The first time I moved a hive I had a bunch of impromptu protective clothing and I got stung more than a dozen times but that is another story. But since then I would like to think that I have learn a few chops (that is a guitarist phrase which means I think I have learned a thing of two) about handling bees. For one thing, I have developed this approach of moving very slow and deliberately whenever I am working with them, this seems to make a big difference. Zen, Me and Bee make three. So when Ken said he wasn’t going to use a veil I thought “Cool, I won’t either. Ken Hands me this giant metal funnel and pulls a couple little bee packages out of his truck. They actually use these packages to ship bees. If you have ever seen a coop they ship chickens in these packages are like this only in miniature. (But the chances that you have seen a chicken coop are remote so I don’t know why the heck I even mentioned it. I used to work on chicken farms when I was a kid and occasionally forget no one else I know has.) Anyway back to the little bee coops. They are about the size of a shoebox with screened sides and a wooden top and bottom. The top has a round hole in it that is covered with a screen once the bees are in the box. We were going to “shake down” the bees into the package. I had no idea what that was about but hey this is how you learn. We fired up the smoker, which is this little metal thing about the size of a coffee can with a bellows on the side and a funnel on the top. You put a bunch of paper and grass in it and light it. Close the funnel top and use the bellows to puff smoke in to the beehive. This causes the bees to think that there is a forest fire coming so they all set about doing their version of an elementary school fire drill. In other words they get a little pre occupied and in theory don’t mind the plundering that is about to happen. So I follow Ken to the first hive, where he puffs a bit of smoke at them, tears off the cover of the hive and to my surprise pitches it on the ground. Remember what I said about slow and deliberate? Well Ken you see has been a commercial beekeeper, and at one time had something like 2500 hives. With that big an operation time is money. I haven’t ever been around a commercial operator before. He proceeds to pull a frame (a part of the hive that holds honey comb) out of the hive that is simply covered with bees maybe five hundred to a thousand or so, looks it over to make sure that the queen isn’t walking around on it then slams it down into the funnel I am holding. The majority of the bees is flung off the frame into the funnel and down into the bee package. The operative word is majority. Maybe ten of fifteen percent buzz off into the air. We proceed to do this to over and over again and each time a few more bees buzz off into the air. So in no time we are surrounded by quite a cloud of fairly pissed off bees. Ken has a grey tee shirt on, a ball cap and jeans. I have a white long sleeve shirt and jeans. Almost immediately one flies down my shirt. And I have to stop walk away and shake her out. One near miss. Then one makes a “bee line” toward a black wrist support I have on, realizes that the wrist support isn’t skin and promptly walks over to my thumb and drills me. Which is no big deal and I knock her off before she can really give me a good dose. However that little episode is followed by a direct hit to my left cheek right below my eye. I scrape that one off only to be hit immediately in the same place again. Thankfully our first package is full and we walk away back to the truck. Off course we are escorted by a few of the guard bees who have a sworn oath of office to protect the hive several of whom fly directly into my chest to make sure that I know they mean business. While Ken closes up the first package, I dig a veil out of his truck because; I don’t want to take any more shots to the face. And the next round of shake down goes off without a hitch. So know we have maybe thirty thousand bees in two little shoeboxes all ready to go to my house and be introduced into the two empty hives I have waiting with one exception. They need a couple queens. Not to worry. Mr. Bee man, Ken has one hive set up that is something like the bee version of the Tower of London. There is a collection of royalty each in their own little cell. Yep a queen bee trapped in a little plastic cell. Who is ready to be freed by diligent attendants who only have to bust her out by eating a hole in the sugar plug blocking the opening. Ken took two of these little prisons and put one into each of the packages of bees and we were done at the bee yard and were on the road back to Ken’s place. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Lori had made a run to the local store for cold beer and pulled in shortly after we arrived. And while we were walking around trying to figure out what a kind of new tree was growing in the corner of his yard was. (Clammy Locust BTW) I saw that Ken got stung one time on the cheek too. We had a beer on the porch and I played a couple tunes for Ken and the girls, Lori, Jess and Lynn before hitting the road back to the valley. Next up Beetox!

Nice weather. The recent string of nice weather has been just what the spirit needed. I don’t mind the winter and in fact I really like it. I like to work in the barn after dark and always appreciate this uninterrupted time. But I confess that the temperature does wear me down. And this winter was one of a great deal of emotional upheaval. It is still hard to get used to the fact that both our dogs are gone and I am often a little remorseful when I get home and there is no Emmet or Kate waiting to say hello and take a little stroll in the back yard. The other day I was working in the yard with Ipod and headphones on, and Bill Stains' song Old Dogs cycled up. I teared right up. Of course folks in the know, know that my work has exploded and I am juggling a great deal in the conservation career. And I miss the "boys" coming to check on me and ground me after a big day at work. And I like so many other folks have the tendency to over do it in the warmer months. Finding balance and working within the capacity I can manage is the big test, but I have been here before and hopefully will put the right things on hold and take care of the essentials. But right now in the last few weeks of spring it is easy to see that everything is just beautiful. It is funny how we choose not to look and really see what is around us. I recently read a thought by Thoreau which basically said if the stars were only visible one night out of the year it would be a historical holiday of celebration, as it is we can see them on any clear night and take them for granted. I need to remember this to sustain me through what will be a very busy year.

This past Sunday I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't go back to sleep. I was thinking about work and that sort of thing. After tossing and turning for about forty-five minutes I remembered that it was the last day of turkey season. I got up and threw my stuff together and ran up the road a bit to friends’ place. Generally when you go turkey hunting the idea is to get in the woods about a hour before sunrise and to get set up and ready to go well be for light. There is an old trail system that goes through this wood and I sort of know my way around so I shuffled off to fine myself a suitable tree to lean against. Now if you don’t know anything about turkey hunting, the deal is sort of like this: Spring is turkey breeding season. They have amazing eyesight and they have a pretty big vocabulary if you will. In other words they make a number of different sounds and they clearly communicate with each other. In the evenings they roost in big trees and fly down to begin their daily activities right be for or right after sunrise. The general objective is to: Know there are turkeys in the woods your are hunting. Get your self in a comfortable position where you have a commanding view of the surrounding landscape. Have some capability with a turkey call. Get camouflaged from head to toe, and be completely aware of what is going on around you. And of course you have to get all this together and ideally be sitting down and ready before it gets daylight. If you are thinking this sounds like a stupid past time, I won’t argue that you do have a point. However this is a spectacular time of year to be in the woods at sunrise and really it is worth doing regardless of if you are hunting anything. I also think anyone who is remotely interested in observing nature should get camouflaged up some time and go sit in a natural area and be as still as possible. The things you may see can simply be remarkable. But that is a another collection of stories. Ok Back to turkey hunting. I started doing this on occasion a few years ago and of all the hunting activities that I have been involved with I have laughed at myself more times chasing turkeys than any thing else. It really can be incredibly addicting and in a very bad way. You see because it is so early in the morning, you can delude yourself into thinking that you can go for a couple hours then dash home and go on to work. What happens to me anyway is I start nodding off around two o’clock in the afternoon and as I struggle to stay awake I start imaging turkeys walking in a line behind people I am talking with in meetings. This is not a good thing, so I have tried to minimize my turkey hunting. But here I was watching the growing morning light and listening to the woods come alive. All the song birds were singing up a storm, I saw a couple racoons amble down the trail toward me then climb a hickory tree just a few feet away and squeeze into a hole about 20 feet off the ground that looked about the diameter of a tennis ball. Of course there are all sorts of wild flowers coming out this time of year and there is a myriad of different shades of green and all the plants are kicking into high gear. I had parked myself at the base of a large oak tree with a natural clearing in front of me. In about fifteen minutes I heard my first gobble and it sounded like the bird was over the hill behind me. The idea of course is to make a call that sounds like a female turkey and try to entice the fellows to come looking. When I was a youngster my dad had taught me how to call quail by imitating a covey or gathering call, and many of the same basic priciples apply to nearly any type of bird calling, that is don’t over do it and let them call back. So after hearing the first male turkey gobble, I started imitating a hen turkey. In no time I had at least one and maybe two birds going. It dawned on me that I should move so they wouldn’t be coming in behind me. That isn't good because you have to let them walk by you and you never know how many there are. If there are several one of the stragglers might see you move and alert the others, so I decided to move to the other side of the little clearing. Also I felt like I would have a little better cover to my back. So I got up walked across the clearing plopped down against another large oak and waited a few minutes. Nothing but song birds. I was afraid my buddies were already on the top of the ridge when I made my move and they might have seen me. So I called a cadence and waited thinking it was still going to be a great day even if I might have blown it by getting up and moving around. Nothing Five minutes or so and I gave another cadence of hen calls, and waited several minutes and then gave it up again. This time I heard a gobble back, but it sounded further away than the ones I had heard earlier, but then again I reasoned I was forty yards further away from where I was. Waited a few minutes and scratched three more chirps and this time had a gobble right away and was much much closer. I knew the bird was out of the valley and coming my way. In just a few minutes I saw him coming down off of the trail and heading on a course that would put him stepping behind a big oak tree about thirty yards in front of me which was going to be perfect. He of course stopped for the longest time! I gently scratched a couple times on my call and he started coming a gain but he changed directions. He was now going east parallel the trail I walked in on. He stopped in a little clearing and gave a nice gobble, then flared up his tail and wings for a moment. This is always a cool thing to see and it makes them look huge. He was getting closer but taking his own good time about it. When he stepped behind a nice size tree, I eased the call down to the ground. He came out and continued walking until he was behind another tree and I twisted my gun around and turned the safety off. He moved behind the large oak I was originally sitting at and I lifted my gun to my shoulder For the longest time he barely showed himself and then finally he was a good foot or so beyond the tree. When I pulled the trigger he went right down, but I have had several friend loose birds after shooting them. Sometimes after a few moments they can regain their composure and run or fly away, so I thought I better get up and run over to make sure that this didn't happen. Now this is where it gets sort of funny. I jump up and took one step and stove my left knee. I nearly went down and I realize that not only is my left leg is asleep, both legs were asleep. I had to ease myself back to the ground for a few minutes using my shotgun as a support. All was good and he was down. This was like the perfect hunt. I mean really, I have never had one so smooth before. If I had had anyone with me who didn’t know a thing about turkey hunting they would have thought, “What is so hard about this/” Of course I haven't even shot at a turkey in 7 years or so, so I guess I had one coming! If you are interested in knowing how it tasted just shoot me an email.file:///Users/stephenmadewell/Desktop/IMG_1547.JPG

OK I did the maple fest. Soon as I got there the fellow running the stage took me to the stash that is the place where the maple cocktails were stored and fixed me up with a drink. Maple cocktails must have about 3000 calories per drink. Pure maple syrup, dry gin, bourbon, and lemon juice. Sort of like a long island ice tea. There are good. I did my show with a fairly thick tongue! In other words I was having a little trouble with enunciation. Lost of little kids dancing around which is always cute. The whole show was filmed by m tv that is Middlefield tv! (local joke) The sound guy was like 76 years old and had these vintage speakers. He has been doing sound for the maple festival for 27 years. No monitors either…. So I couldn't hear what I was playing!! Too much fun. Was a trip. Got done and immediately when for more of the “stash”/ Whole bunch of older dudes sitting in lawn chairs in front of the storage locker, and I know why they were sitting. They had the stuff mixed up by the gallon. Big fun all the way around!
May 2, 2009 Later today I will be performing at the Geauga County Maple Festival. Geauga County makes a lot of maple syrup and this is a big tradition in this region. This festival used to be held shortly after the maple sap stopped being collected, which is generally around the end of March or early April. In years pasted it almost always snowed at the Maple Fest so the planning committee has moved it to the first weekend in May. Short of some sort of meteorological miracle it is not going to snow today. IT is turning into a spectacular May Day. I was up early this morning and out pursuing a tradition of my own. A buddy of mine has a lovely little morrel patch in his woods and for the past few weekends I have been poking around seeing what the good mushroom gods might reveal to me. Every spring since I was a little squirt with my pop I have been out at least a few hours looking around for morrels, which if you are in to mushrooms are very tasty, easy to identify and fairly difficult to find. Which leads to a certain mystique as most people hold the location of the their sacred mushroom patches secrete. (So don’t ask) Anyway I scored enough from Joey’s woods, which by the way is a factious name, to make an admirable side dish for a venison tenderloin steak and eggs breakfast for me and MJ. Now while I am taking the time to let my meal digest I thought I would post a journal entry. For the past several months my “day “ work has been basically non-stop, and I have been finding myself in bed sometimes as early as 9:30. This for me is nearly unheard of. But for those near and dear, don't worry I have been working on maintaining some sort of balance. Hence the value of the mushroom collecting stroll. There are true benefits derived from taking a walk in the woods. Being immersed in the local environment surrounded by other forms of life, seeing the beauty of a flower blossom or the chartreuse of a patch of moss. There is a lot out there to take in and taking it in seems to push other things out or at least get them in a different place in your head. At 6:30 when I got up, I had a gazillion things on my mind. Not really a gazillion, probably more like six in a gazillion incarnations. Anyway after taking my walk everything seem to be in the proper perspective. Amazing how that happens. And then I got the added pleasure of being able to come back home and do some thing for someone else, that is make breakfast for MJ. It’s turning out to be a beautiful day and I am going to have a great time playing some music here in a few hours.
Last night 4/16/09 I had a really nice time at the Barking Spider. I got there with plenty of time only to discover a full band was wailing away when I got there. As I brought my guitars in a friendly smile and a “Hi Steve” from one of the fine ladies who work there greeted me. At first I thought the band was Case students who had scored a pick up gig, but after a few minutes I realized who ever they were, these guys were hot. Sort of a jacked up James Brown funk with a wailing guitar player. Actually they were a Brooklyn band called Mercury Landing and they were on the road to Chicago, and they happened to pick up an early gig at the Spider. They cleared the stage in plenty of time and as I was setting up, I was told that Billy Lestock had been in earlier in the day and cleaned up the PA and replaced all the questionable mic Cables. As I got under way, a number of folks came filtering in, some who read my emails and others who caught a mention of the evening from Jim Blum’s WKSU show, and still others who watch the Barking Spiders’ web page. Several singer/song writers showed up Mark Freeman, Hank Mallory, Ron Chessler, Banjo Dave from the Silver String Band, and Dan from the Swamp Rattlers, Billy Lestock and a bunch of other good friends. When I got done, most everyone hung around a listened to Hillbilly Idol, who even without Paul sounded great. On the way home I started thinking about what a cool thing it is to have a community of like individuals and that is one of the wonderful things about the Barking Spider. The Barking Spider doesn’t pay musicians, they pass the proverbial hat. But a gig at the spider isn’t really about the money. It is great to have a place in town where a band on the way to Chicago can stop and catch a pickup gig. Where someone comes in on their own and fixes up the PA. Where you can go an try out some new songs and there will always be someone there to give a listen. Playing at the Spider is a way to support that sense of community that exists among people who enjoy and want to keep live music alive. It these really difficult and uncertain times, it will be community that will get us through, and I would like to think last night maybe, just maybe I made a small contribution to a community too.
The other day I was standing on the side porch and it was five degrees. Cardinals were singing in the big trees on the shoulder of the valley. All I could think was this is optimism. The wonderful thing about optimism is it is contagious. Now I am not so simple minded to think that they were singing because they were happy (of course who really knows the answer to that question). But rather they were singing because the days are getting longer and it is time for them to begin their mating ritual. Singing is in fact, their beginning efforts on a journey to perpetuate their species. However I might choose to look at it their simple little tune certainly cheered me up, and helped me face what was promising to be an otherwise dreary and stressful day. In light of the current economic and social conditions it is, or would be certainly easy to fall into an abyss of despair. If you don’t know someone who has lost his or her job consider yourself lucky. Maybe you have lost your job? I’m sorry if you did and I hope things will improve for you. There is a lot of bad mojo going round. I was talking to someone a few months back about choosing to be happy. I think being happy is often times a choice. One that I didn't make as many times as I could have. I had written a song called Sleeping on the Wrong Side Of The Bed, (and with a little prodding I hope to finish recording) which is about this very thing. Not too long after we were talking about this, he lost his job. Last week we were visiting again and after being unemployed for nearly 6 months he has found a level of happiness that had previously escaped him. He told me that it was unfortunate that while he had a steady income stream, he hadn’t been able to be happy because he was so consumed with trying to get what he wasn’t able to afford. Now he simply couldn’t afford anything beyond essentials and he had let go of the desire to acquire things he realized he really didn’t need. I realize that there are so many people in dire straights, but as my friend said, he has a warm dry house with running water. Things that just a few years ago, or in other countries would be considered luxuries. So much is relative. Some things we can change some things we can’t. Attitude is a choice. I don’t really believe that anyone knows where these current situations will take us. I believe most of us recognize that we are in for some readjustments in life style. I hope we can be like my friend and choose to be happier in what ever situation we are in. If a Cardinal can find something to sing about on a five degree March morning, surely we can too. We need to be contagious.
Early this morning the creek released. I don’t recall how many weeks it has been frozen, but it has been a while. Across the road in front of our house is a waterfall on a feeder stream. When I took good old Emmett out last night the little waterfall was a raging torrent and I could hear it all the way back to the barn. The big creek hadn’t opened up yet. Melt water was flowing overtop of the thick ice and I knew it would only be a matter of hours maybe minutes before the creek would be a rushing river. It has been a real privileged to live hear and experience this occurrence. Some years the release has been extremely fast and violent, others it has been like a lava flow. Last night when it let go, there was a great deal of noise as the ices was broken apart and heaved up on the shore of the creek. We probably had 15-16 inches of compressed snow on the ground Friday when the temperatures began climbing above freezing and yesterday it got up to 55 degrees. And it felt great but that is a lot of runoff and it has to go somewhere. The concern we have with winter melt is ice dams. It is conceivable that a big ice dam could form and it would be 2006 all over again. I have seen some remarkable ice dams over the years. The first one was on the Little Miami River right above Factory Road. I came across this while doing my ranger thing with the Greene County Park System. The entire stream was diverted into an old millrace due to a large ice dam on the mainstream channel. My old friend Bill Baker and I once walked across an ice dam at the mouth of Paine Creek on the Grand River. If this seems like an idiotic thing to do….. well it was. But we were well away from the main channel of the river so we thought. At one point we could hear the sounds of water rushing under the ice we were standing on. The river was carving a new channel beneath us. When we realized what was going on we dashed off of and away from the ice. We were standing on a section of the dam that was releasing. We would have probably drowned if we hadn’t got out of there when we did. An ice dam is formed like this. Thick sheets of ice that form on the deep slower pools of a river are broken apart by rising floodwaters. They get washed down stream and get caught up or trapped at sand bars or shallower areas on the stream. More ice jams up behind them and on occasion a huge dam can be created in relatively short amount of time. Of course the floodwaters have to go somewhere and ultimately they do. I have seen occasions where the water undercuts the dam and digs a deep hole in the bed of the stream, or re routes the stream entirely. And it is pretty amazing to see one let go. I have only seen this once but I will never forget it. A friend of mine and I were standing on top of a hill overlooking a stream. The entire stream was blocked and water was spilling out over the banks and spreading out across the floodplain. A small column of water came shooting out of the ice dam and was going probably thirty feet into the air. The water column kept getting bigger and bigger until it collapsed into a large gushing boil. That side of the dam blew out first and in a matter of seconds it was all gone. When the water level returned to normal I went to investigate the bed of the stream. I found that the hydraulic pressure had created a deep pool where the water had forced its way under the ice. It is not too often we get to see geologic forces at work and when ever I do it always reminds me how inconsequential my little worries are in the grand scheme of things. It was nice to hear the sounds of the stream again last night.

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