While everyone else shared stories of their misery during this recent spate of bitterly cold weather, there were a few renegade voices in the crowd that were doing nothing but cheering.
The sculptures of frost on the windows, the burn of the air on your cheeks, the squeak of the snow under your boots - all of the signs clearly were present to tell us winter had exposed its fangs and taken a pretty good bite out of our January.
Most of us were singing the blues over how disabling the frigid cold can be. Our cars groan when we start them, our furnaces cycle on endlessly, and nasty drafts hide outside each doorway, anxious to steal their way inside and stab us at every opportunity.
But not everyone was feeling imprisoned by the cold. Not everyone was cursing the weatherman, who seemed to get way too much pleasure out of reporting our impending meteorological doom. Not everyone was searching high and low for the prophets of global warming and asking them to explain how this all fits in with their elaborate sales job.
Those cackles of joy you have heard as the deep freeze moved in and sat on us like an invisible glacier - those cries of delight came from a tiny minority living amongst us that finds this type of weather to be dreamlike.
To the ice fishermen, cold is a thing of beauty, as long as it is severe enough and hangs around long enough. Since this was a cold winter to start with, they were borderline giddy when the recent extreme snap hit. Then, as it lingered and single digits were replaced by goose eggs and then by temperatures below zero, these guys got almost euphoric.
The real hard-core fishermen despise moderation in winter. Once ice starts to form, they are prisoners until it either clears out to reveal open water again, or until persistent cold turns the ice to a concrete highway. This arctic barrage we have been under is the stuff that builds ice into pavement at a rapid pace, although the experts tell us the best ice is built more slowly, and by persistent sub-freezing temperatures.
Some winters we've had solid, fishable ice in Lake Erie's western basin by late December. Other years the ice does not form in a strong enough fashion until mid-February. And there are those years when we never really get much fishable ice at all.
If anyone mentions how things go in a "normal year," it probably is best to ignore most of what they say since there is no normal. There can be two weeks of good ice fishing conditions, a month and a half of great ice, or none at all.
This bitterly cold spell has created the conditions for ice to form on much of the western half of Lake Erie, although strong winds have had a detrimental impact on some of that ice. Guides are taking ice fishing parties out into the protected areas where the wind cannot work its destructive ways.
With each hour of this nasty, Arctic cold, the ice grows. There was a steady 12 inches of ice off South Bass Island as the spike in cold weather moved into its third day. In increasing numbers, the fishermen were finding their way out on the ice, and the search for the fish began in earnest.
This is an extreme sport, make no mistake about it. While a lot of the fishing is done inside portable shanties that often have heaters, the process of getting to and from the fishing grounds requires gear that will protect you from the harshest of elements. If the cold gets to you psychologically, it will be tough to enjoy ice fishing.
But for those who are members of this cult of real "hard water" fishermen, this is a great time of year. Some of the best walleye of the fishing season are taken through the ice on dreary and otherwise miserable winter days.
Many of us have dreaded the arrival of this sustained run of frigid weather, and the long, heavy coats, knit hats and gloves that go along with it. We have to remember, however, that the glacial-type temperatures we despise are cheered by others. Ice fishermen figure it this way - each day of temperatures below 20 degrees will extend their fishing season by at least a couple more days. They'll take it, no matter how much the rest of us might suffer.
Matt Markey is the A-T outdoors columnist.
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