These are ghost ponds. They were made by people who lived nearby and who later abandoned them when the Upper Buffalo Wilderness was created. They were not, however, abandoned by the wilderness and those who inhabit it now. In fact, while taking these pictures I was surprised to see a tadpole swim up to the ice on the surface from somewhere in the bottom muck and then turn around and swim back down. And some kind of water beetle scurried across the bottom. In December.
Do you ever wonder whether there might not be spirits in the water, who sometimes spend a moment too long gazing at a favorite constellation, and just as they start to dive to safety are taken by the night and frozen instead, and then melt away in the next day's sun? You don't?
No, to tell you the truth, I don't either. But I do often wonder at all the beauty there is in the world, seen and unseen, even in a small thing, say an abandoned pond in the wilderness, day after day shining beauty into an empty sky.