All winter the rivers freeze solid and people travel by sled, sleighs and toboggans. With today's warming temperatures, sometimes the ice breaks up as early as March, causing floods, and roaring ice jams, which puts life and land in danger well before people are prepared. In the eighteenth century it was both a blessing (spring has arrived) and a curse (treacherous ice jams and floods). The settlers faced many challenges.
Excerpt from my novel when Amelia, a young Englishwoman, is about to meet her love's (Gilbert) Acadian mother. Here, she first experiences the breaking up of one of the rivers:
Amelia smoothed her hair with nervous fingers as Gilbert escorted her and Louise in a cart to a hamlet of houses and a gristmill. The Kennebecasis River was mostly frozen, a gleaming ribbon in the weak sunlight. The mill wheel was stilled in the ice. They approached a cedar-shingled, log home where smoke drifted from the chimney.
The ground started to quake, and a great cracking sound rent the air.
“Mercy, what is that?” Amelia asked, pulse skipping. She fidgeted to retain balance. Louise hunched close, staring at her feet as if they might fly out from under her.
“Only the ice breaking up in the mountains.” Gilbert chuckled, laying a warm hand on her shoulder. “It happens every spring, and is late this year.”
“Then I must get used to it.” Amelia laughed to disguise her amazement. He opened the door and she was anxious to leave the wind and any cracking ice, though cautious of what lay ahead.
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Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the world with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania.