Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Inadvertent Environmental Art

The temperature here dropped precipitously Tuesday night. And it didn't rise much yesterday, despite the fact that it was a bright and sunny day. We've had some cold days since moving here a decade ago, but never a clear one that topped out so low. At three in the afternoon it was below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

That meant that last night was going to be brutally cold by our standards, dropping into the teens in the slightly more elevated foothills where we live. Because they don't insulate well in home construction here and leave pipes exposed outdoors, the risk of having them burst is significant. I made sure to let the hot water in our garage sink stay dripping, ran the sprinklers several times throughout the night and also left on the outdoor spigot to which our front-yard hose is attached.

You see, I know that the spigot has a leak, spraying a light stream of water even when the hose is off, and figured that leaving it on would keep enough of a flow running to prevent the pipes from freezing. What I didn't anticipate, however, is that I'd produce inadvertent environmental art in the process. When I first walked outside this morning, I was stunned to see fabulous cave formations had been created over night, a randomized 7' X 7' ice sculpture. Here's a close-up of the gorgeous spectacle:

Accidental ice scuplture from a spigot left on over a very cold Tucson night

Even though the sun has been out since dawn, most of the sculpture is still standing, waiting for more layers to be added tonight, which promises to be just as cold. Living where I grew up in Pennsylvania, icicles were a common sight, but no less welcome for their frequency. Here in Tucson, where natural ice of any kind is a novelty, they feel like a minor miracle, even if it's one that my pipe-protection strategy abetted. Skylar was beside herself with joy this morning, because for her the sight was equivalent to my twelve-year-old self waking up to see a saguaro cactus in our Maryland backyard.
Tags: home, photography, tucson, weather

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