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The Day’s Delight: Glacier

When the glaciers melted, did they candle like a lake in spring break up? The sun boring weak and watery channels, the ice acting as its own magnifying glass (isn’t that a metaphor these days?: Focusing and intensifying whatever shines through.)

I climbed to the Height of Land. Sat on a rock shaped eons ago by ice. (And patted a boulder set down by a heaving behemoth).

The lake below, visible between the white pines and jack pines and balsams and scrubby birch, was mostly open, white, porous ice pushed to one side by the wind.

I’ve hiked there before. Once with Jay and Ennis, once sinking thigh high with my snowshoes, trying to navigate the decision to be done having kids. It was a shorter hike than I remembered, but most familiar trails feel like that now, after a year of long dog walks in the woods.

I sat for a long time in the sun at the edge of the bright green moss. I saw a hawk, or maybe a falcon, briefly circling, the tips of its wings curved gently back. Ravens dove and flew, calling in a tone I’d never heard before, falling silent when the spring ritual was done.

An eagle spiraled out over the lake, and a float plane crossed the sky below it. I was above and below, between. I like looking down at the tops of trees. I appreciate the solidity and self-knowing of rock. I love the slow growth of lichen, the wild strawberry leaves that are miraculously revived though edged with spiky frost. I traced the trails out and back, unsure at times if I’d reached the end, or if the path had simply grown over. I found the lake access and promised myself I’ll take my kayak out there– soon.

It was a two lake day– one from afar and the second up close. I rocked the ice shelf. I broke it up with a stick, with a sound like tinkling glass, the sugar panes they use in movies so no one gets hurt. I thought of the way this corner of the lake would melt differently because I’d interfered, and that pleased me: a homo sapien drawing a channel through the dirt to divert water, harvesting ice to keep things cold all summer, cutting down trees and putting up boards, shaping this nest of a life around me as I go.

Maybe I’m a kind of glacier, too.


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