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The Perfect Black Ice That Came And Went

At rear, from left, on the ice: Dave Marks, Kate Popetz and Anna Morningstar. At foreground: Rachael Tani. Photo by Ellery Berenger for NEPR

At rear, from left, on the ice: Dave Marks, Kate Popetz and Anna Morningstar. At foreground: Rachael Tani. Photo by Ellery Berenger for NEPR

A few weeks of dry, cold January weather in western Massachusetts created ponds that were frozen sheer and smooth — like panes of glass — for the first time in years.

If you’ve lived in New England long enough, you know that ponds and open water freeze over differently year to year, depending on the weather.

On Lake Warner in North Hadley, Massachusetts, the skating was remarkable. The black ice was so clear that every crack was visible — and audible.

The sound can be scary, especially if you’re out in the middle of a lake alone… with a microphone.

But some people can’t help themselves.

On a recent Saturday, Massachusetts state geologist Steve Mabee, skates on and hockey stick in hand, was one of the biggest kids out on Metacomet Lake in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

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